How Can This Be?

image18In the 21st Century how can this be?

In Paraguay, Niña El Peligro, a ten year old girl was abused, raped and impregnated by her step father, Gilberto Benitez Zarate.

Bad enough, but then she may have been betrayed by her mother, who allegedly assisted her husband escape the authorities.

Unbelievably, it gets even worse!

Not only has a little girl who should be living an innocent and carefree life, spending with her friends, or perhaps playing with dolls, has instead been subject to the most horrific emotional, physical and mental abuse.

She was raped, there is no other word for it, raped by her step father.  A man who should have been her protector.

Firstly we have the risk of physical damage he could have caused.  In basic terms, her reproductive organs are simply too small.  There could have been tissue damage, possibility of destruction of her ability to procreate when she was actually at a suitable age.

HINT: AFTER SHE HAS PASSED THROUGH PUBERTY!

Then there is the emotional damage.  No child is equipped to handle the sexual act in any way.  The level of maturity required to handle the problems and issues of an active sex life is beyond some adults, so a child of ten will have no chance.

It could affect the individual’s capability for building genuine interpersonal skills required to function as an adult.  There are risks of affecting one’s self esteem and self respect.

The trauma, both physical and mental, is bound to have an adverse effect on virtually every aspect of the individual’s growth, creating a damaged human being who is unable to realise his or her potential.

Like I said earlier, even with the trauma induced by the (repeated?) molestation and abuse, the child in this story actually became pregnant.

Which creates a whole slough of health risks on top of the suffering this little girl has already endured.

Her pregnancy was discovered when swelling of her stomach prompted her mother to take her to a hospital, claiming that she thought it was a tumour of some description.

Doctors investigated and discovered the truth and the mother was arrested, amid claims that the arrest was due to her assisting Gilberto Benitez Zarate escape prosecution.

In a third act of betrayal, the Paraguayan authorities have declared that the child will be required to carry the baby to term and give birth, unless medical necessity deems otherwise.

WTF?

I’m no expert, but even I can understand that the greatest health risk facing this child now is the very act that the Paraguayan government is insisting on!

What is wrong with these people?

Oh, I know.  It’s the Catholic church’s stranglehold.  Yet again religion is behind another case of child abuse.

Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International said in a statement:

The physical and psychological impact of forcing this young girl to continue with an unwanted pregnancy is tantamount to torture.”

Which is completely true.  Aside from the psychological effects there are also the physical risks involved:

High blood pressure – A higher risk of getting high blood pressure — called pregnancy-induced hypertension — than pregnant women in their twenties or thirties. There is also have a higher risk of preeclampsia. This is a dangerous medical condition that combines high blood pressure with excess protein in the urine, swelling of a mother’s hands and face, and organ damage.

These medical risks  can also disrupt the unborn baby’s growth, and, they can lead to further pregnancy complications such as premature birth.

Premature birth – A full-term pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. A baby that delivers before 37 weeks is a premature baby. The earlier a baby is born, the more risk there is of respiratory, digestive, vision, cognitive, and other problems.

Low-birth-weight baby – There is a higher risk of having low-birth-weight babies. Premature babies are more likely to weigh less than they should. In part, that’s because they’ve had less time in the womb to grow. A low-birth-weight baby weighs only 3.3 to 5.5 pounds (1,500 to 2,500 grams). A very-low-birth-weight baby weighs less than 3.3 pounds. Babies that small may need to be put on a ventilator in a hospital’s neonatal care unit for help with breathing after birth.

Postpartum depression – A higher risk of postpartum depression (depression that starts after delivering a baby).

I find it despicable that this young child has been betrayed in the worst possible way by the people she should have been able to trust most, her parents.

On top of that she is now being legally tortured by a regime that is in the stranglehold of a major religion, one with a less than stellar reputation for looking after the best interests of children.

On top of that, there are also claims that she is now in danger of being exploited by Pro Choice activists.

What the fuck did this innocent little child do to deserve such trauma?

And how can we stand by and watch it it happen?

This story has made the world news and for that reason, one might be forgiven for thinking that it is unique.

An aberration.

A tiny blip on the RADAR.

Allow me to dispel that misconception for you. First with a few headline hitters:

In 2014 in Paraguay alone, there were 684 cases of pregnancies of girls between 10 and 14 years old.

The Catholic church is far from the only religious body responsible for such atrocities. Anine year old girl was gang raped by at least ten men and left pregnant, when she was taken as a sex slave by ISIL.

In 2010 in the USA, an 11 year old girl gave birth to a baby boy.

In 1933, Lina Medina gave birth when she was 5 years old.

Key facts:

  • About 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 and some 1 million girls under 15 give birth every year—most in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the second cause of death for 15-19 year-old girls globally.
  • Every year, some 3 million girls aged 15 to 19 undergo unsafe abortions.
  • Babies born to adolescent mothers face a substantially higher risk of dying than those born to women aged 20 to 24.

I’ll ask again:

In the 21st Century how can this be?

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