13-year-old rape vic­tim to quit school to take care of new­born

Tribal girl was sex­u­ally as­saulted by 55-year-old neigh­bour

The Hindu - - NATION - Jy­oti She­lar

“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.”

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