For years, a 39 year-old woman Zunika Ahmad lived as a man, even going so far as to get herself a fictitious identity as a male living in Indonesia and getting married to 2 local women.

Then in 2011, Zunika moved her Indonesian family into a flat a few units away from a young 13 year-old girl and her family. When Zunika presented herself to the girl and her parents, they did not suspect that she was a woman because of her deep voice and the way she presented herself.

Soon after, Zunika grew closer with the young victim and her family. The 13 year-old and her sibling would often stay over at Zunika’s place to spend time with Zunika’s daughter, who was conceived by one of Zunika’s wives after she had an affair with another man.

Zunika and the underaged girl started their sexual relationship in 2012, and although it was consensual, it is stilled viewed as illegal under Singapore law. Zunika ended the relationship in December 2013 after feeling guilty over the affair. The abuse came to light in March 2014, when the girl made a police report after an argument with Zunika.

Zunika was convicted of 7 charges, including a count of committing an obscene act with the underaged girl, who has now turned 16. 14 other similar charges will be taken into account upon sentencing.

Amazingly, both of Zunika’s wives and the girls’ family did not realize that Zunika was biologically a female until her arrest and incarceration at Changi Women’s Prison. It was there that prison psychiatrists diagnosed Zunika with gender dysphoria, a disorder that causes the sufferer to have a strong desire to be of the opposite sex. Doctors did not find that Zunika required any psychiatric treatment, which makes her liable for prosecution under the law for sexually assault against a minor.

Even Zunika’s wives had no idea that they were married to a woman. When Zunika’s first wife became pregnant after an affair, she had told Zunika that the baby was Zunika’s, and Zunika had gone along with the lie as she wanted to have a complete family and was unwilling to reveal her true identity.

In making a case for a lighter sentence, defense lawyer Ms N Sudha Nair cited a psychiatric report by Dr Tommy Tan, which found that Zunika’s risk of re-offending is low, and told the court of her client’s remorse and desire to continue living with her wives and daughter after her sentence.

Citing the complicated and unprecedented nature of the case, Justice Kan Ting Chiu said he would issue the sentence at a later date.

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