April 20, 2007

Nine-year-old child to give birth

Pregnant 9-year-old Honduran girlPregnant 9-year-old Honduran girl
Photo: La Prensa

La Prensa has been running a series of articles about a 9-year-old girl who will be giving birth to her own father's child in a few weeks.

The story came to light when the girl was hospitalized after being beaten by her mother after she insisted that her father had been "touching" her (since she was 6 years old according to the girl).
The girl says that she repeatedly told her mother, who was seldom home because she worked in the field cutting coffee. She also told her 17-year-old sister, who yelled at her father, but he got angry with her and nothing more happened.

The mother is said to have told her daughter to lie to the officials that she was 13 years old and that her father was her step-father. (Twisted thinking that that would make it okay!) When questioned, the mother admitted that she noticed the girl was getting a little fat but thought it was a tumor. During the hearing, the mother grabbed and pushed the child, saying it was her fault that her father would go to prison.

The father, who is now in jail awaiting trial, claims that this was a mutually consensual relationship. Incredible! How does a 9-year-old child consent to having sex with her 56-year-old father?

The fiscalia (district attorney) states that the mother is equally culpable but that there are no laws under which she can be charged. They are asking for a prison sentence of 30 years for the father, but have concerns about the two younger daughters still at home with the mother.

The director of the governmental children and family commission has asked the Congress to reform the law so that mothers or others who permit such acts will be subject to the same penalties as the perpetrator. She said that they see cases like this daily but this one is getting attention only because the girl became pregnant.

The National Congress approved a motion to provide pre- and post-partum medical care, and is analyzing a motion to provide further economic, educational, and psychological support for the girl and her baby. According to La Prensa, many Hondurans and foreigners have also offered support.

Because the young girl is so small, doctors will perform a cesarean. The authorities are deciding whether to return the girl to her mother or place her in a children's center. Another option being considered is to pay someone to care for her and the baby.

The following is a translation of an interview with the girl, who plans to name her baby Cindy Alejandra.

How are you, little princess?
And do you go to school?
No, I don't like it.

Why, my darling?

And what do you like to do?
Cook and wash.

And what food do you know how to make?
I only grind the corn ... make lots of tortillas.

Are you going to have a baby, my darling?

And who is going to care for the baby?
I, I am going to care for her, I'm going to bathe her and change her....

And do you want your daughter to study?
Yes, I want her to be a doctor.

And what are you going to do with the little baby when it is born?
I am going to care for her, I'm going to wash other people's clothes to maintain her and send her to school....

Sweetie, and what do you have for your daughter?

Nothing, the people will give me things, but I don't have clothes or toys.

Is it true that you pray every day to God and the Virgin Mary?
Yes, I ask the Virgin Mary to help me and that neither the baby nor I will suffer more....

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