GEORGE TOWN - News that her son could have been sodomised has "destroyed" D. Shanti, 43, a single parent to assault victim T. Nhaveen and his younger sister, who is still schooling.
"She feels that it was humiliating and she is worried how Nhaveen could face the world if he recovers," said Nhaveen's uncle M. Vincent.
Shanti, who is separated from her husband and works as a production operator, was seen crying inconsolably throughout the press conference and could not face the media.
Another uncle, R. Thivagarajan, 50, said it was no longer a normal assault case because Nhaveen was tortured.
"We want justice for him," he said.
He said the teenagers who assaulted his nephew were former schoolmates of Nhaveen.
Shanti had met them about a year ago and asked them to stop bullying her son, he added.
"During their school days, they often teased him and labelled him 'chicken' and 'coward' because of his gentle personality.
"We thought the bullying would end after he finished schooling but it didn't," said Thivagarajan.
(Naveen was a student of SMK Datuk Hj Mohamed Nor Ahmad.)
"About a week ago he told his mother that he ran into them again and they teased him and said he had no courage to fight back.
Shanti asked him not to react and she would handle the incident.
"We never thought that this could become so serious to the point that he is lying brain dead in the ICU," he added.
"We hope the police will take the matter seriously so that similar incidents will not happen to other families. This has to stop," he said.
Nhaveen's aunt G. Premalatha, 35, said Nhaveen did not want his mother to have anything to do with the alleged bullies, as they would take it out on him after she spoke to them.
"We learnt from Nhaveen that he would have his head shoved against the wall every time after Shanti confronted them," she said.
Another aunt, D. Sumathi, 42, said Nhaveen is an ambitious boy who loves music.
"He worked part-time in a shopping mall after his SPM.
"He was supposed to resign from his job by this week before enrolling in a private college in Kuala Lumpur for a music composing course.
She also recalled giving Nhaveen some money to buy a burger the night before the incident.
"That was the last time I saw him.
"We also took a selfie a few days earlier, as he looked handsome in his work attire," she said in tears, while showing pressmen the picture.