A safer Malaysia
Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat
DR Geshina ayu Mat saat believes women fare better than men in her field.
“Women have better intuition and are more empathetic which I believe makes us better criminologists,” says the lecturer with universiti sains Malaysia’s Forensic science programme. “We are also better at multitasking and connecting the dots. Criminology is seen as a man’s field, but gender does not really matter. I have not found it harder as a woman.
“If anyone looks down at a female criminologist, it is their problem, not mine. I simply ignore them and let my work speak for itself.”
Dr Geshina’s interest in psychology was inspired by her father, psychologist and family therapist Prof Datuk Dr Mat saat Baki.
“I think I knew since I was around five. My sisters and I used to follow my dad around when he gave psychology lectures. I actually learned a lot from hands-on experience and experiential learning from him rather than in classes at university,” she says.
upon completing her degree in psychology, Dr Geshina was offered a choice of postgraduate scholarship for either criminology or forensic psychology by usM. she chose criminology.
“My training is eclectic, really. as I said, I had exposure to psychology since I was young. I know about law, medicine, sociology, human resources, psychometrics, forensics, violence, victimisation, counselling ... because these are what underpin criminology. When dealing with criminals, you need to know the laws and criminal procedure codes, you need to know the psyche of criminals and their social support and networks and you also need to know their modus operandi including the tools and technology that they use. I like learning various things and this field allows me to make use of my knowledge.
“I had my practical training in Britain and my field experience in Malaysia,” says Dr Geshina who was born in australia and grew up in the united states. she moved back to Malaysia for her tertiary education before going to Britain for her graduate and post-graduate education.
not long after obtaining her Masters in applied Criminology, Dr Geshina and her father were called upon to help the Prisons Department create the in-house rehabilitation for sexual offenders.
Criminology, she explains, is the study of crime, criminals and their victims. to a certain extent it also covers punishment for crimes committed.
“the bulk of my work is teaching. I teach criminology, violence and society, among other subjects and I also conduct research which I enjoy very much. I have several ongoing research projects, most of which
involve the profiling of various types of criminals and victims. These are joint research work with my postgraduate students.
“I also help the police and prison authorities assess criminals and victims, and profile criminals and their rehabilitation needs, when requested. I sometimes address the rehabilitation needs of victims, too. Criminologists cannot and should not sit in their ivory towers. If we do so, how do we know what are the public’s concerns in making society safer? I am directly involved with government agencies like the police,
“Prisons department, banks, organisations like Unicef, the media, hospitals, and the community in addressing social ills. Sometimes, this involves reviews of Malaysian laws,” explains Dr Geshina, who is based in Kota Baru, Kelantan.
Ultimately, Dr Geshina hopes she can contribute in making Malaysia a safer place for all.
“Criminology has a ripple effect that touches upon other fields of knowledge. I get to see firsthand the changes in our society, thanks to the advances in criminology. “The most fulfilling thing about my job is being able to help the police and Prisons department and make Malaysia safer,” she says.
criminologist dr Geshina ayu believes her expertise will make malaysia safer.