13-year-old rape victim to quit school to take care of newborn
Tribal girl was sexually assaulted by 55-year-old neighbour
“I want to take care of my baby. I can’t go back to school now,” says a 13-yearold rape victim, who gave birth to a baby boy last week in a hospital in Vashi.
The tribal girl, a resident of Bherla village near Panvel in Raigad district, was raped several times by her 55-yearold neighbour, who threatened to kill her parents if she raised a protest. A Class VIII student in a zilla parishad school, the girl stopped attending classes when doctors revealed to her that she was six months pregnant.
The girl’s father said, “Everyone in our village knows about her pregnancy. No one will marry her now. Even in school, everyone knows why she has been absent for so long.” Weighing just 1.2 kg, the baby has been admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of the Staterun JJ Hospital. Doctors advised the family to give the baby boy up for adoption, but the family has chosen to raise him. The girl’s mother, a daily wage labourer, said, “If no one marries my daughter, at least the baby boy will grow up and take care of her.”
Lives at risk
Dr. Ashok Anand, head of the Gynaecology Department at the hospital, said: “The youngest pregnancy we have seen so far is the 2015 case of a 12-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather.”
He said teenage pregnancies often have adverse consequences for both the mother and child.
The victim’s mother said, “We came to know that our daughter was pregnant when we showed her to a local doctor after she complained of discomfort. She had also missed her periods for a while. The doctors told us that she was pregnant and asked us to make her undergo a sonography test at a hospital in Vashi. The test revealed that she was already six months pregnant.”
The family immediately registered a police complaint and the accused was arrested.
The girl’s father said, “We were told that our girl will have to carry the pregnancy to full-term. We had no choice but to listen to the doctor. They said an abortion would put her life at risk.”