Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Little Girl Lost

A few days ago, I asked my readers if there were any subjects they wanted me to write about.  One of them suggested that I discuss the case of the Mexican girl who gave birth last month. 

Dafne was impregnated last year at the age of 8.  She has maintained that the father of the baby was her 17 year old boyfriend, though local Jalisco authorities have not been able to locate him.  They are looking to press rape charges.

As more days have passed since the story first broke, bits of information are coming out.   The girl's mother is a prostitute, and may have enlisted her daughter into the trade.  Her own mother.

Dafne is one of eleven children, and appears to be the primary caretaker for the other kids.  At 9 years old.

Though she has maintained her story that her boyfriend is the father, her stepfather is also a suspect and the authorities want to test him for paternity.  It's said he bathed with her and shared her bed.  Shudder.

Doctors performed a c-section on the girl, stating that her body was not developed enough to endure childbirth.

Then the doctors violated her more.

They sterilized her while they were performing the c-section.  Without her mother's consent.  Without her consent.  They just decided that she shouldn't ever be able to have children again.

At nine years old.


My heart breaks for this child, who has never lived the life a child should.  She is already the responsible "parent" for the rest of her family, may have been forced into the sex industry and/or abused by family members and ended up pregnant at an age when most girls are still playing with baby dolls.

As if all that isn't enough, she was victimized by the doctors too.

I need to believe that what they've done is a crime here, and hope that the authorities will press charges against the doctors as well.

Their intentions don't matter, their condescension doesn't matter, their beliefs about whether she should ever have children as an adult doesn't matter.  Whether they thought they were making the right choice for her doesn't matter.  It wasn't their choice to make.  

They could have placed an IUD, they could have done implantable birth control, they could have put her on the pill.  They could have asked first.  They could have found a way to ensure her safety and well being instead of doing what they did which was send her home to the mother and stepfather who have already harmed her.

This child has been violated.  She has been victimized.  She has had both her childhood and her free will stolen from her.  Her youth, her innocence, gone.

This is truly one of those situations that most people would rather not have an awareness of.  We don't want to know about things like this.  We would rather stay in our bubbles than grasp the truth that children are being abused all over the world in unimaginable ways.

The more I learn about the situation, the more I am shocked and appalled that things like this happen.  The more I want to believe that things like this cannot happen.  The more I want to believe that something can be done to prevent this from happening to other children.  That something can be done to help them.

The ugly truth is that this isn't just about one child.  How many are like her?  In Mexico?  In other countries?  Here, in the United States?

More than you'd want to know, I can guarantee it.

Her age is the most shocking part of this puzzle, but there is an argument to be made that we shouldn't only be shocked because she is 8.  We should be shocked that this happened at all.  It shouldn't be news just because she is 8. She isn't the youngest, and she's not the only.  This happens to girls, still very much children, all around the world.  Almost every single one of them at the hands of an abusive family member, though more than a few were child brides or forced into the sex industry.  

This is the first case that I am aware of that also had the added insult of forced sterilization.

This is the side of humanity that is hard to stomach.  Even harder still because most of the time, the abuse isn't brought to the attention of the authorities until the child ends up pregnant.

I have to say I was surprised that the WHO statement on adolescent pregnancy glosses over child pregnancy.  Though girls under the age of 15 do not compose the majority of youth pregnancies, they are there, and often occur for different reasons than the girls over the age of 15.  It's a different problem entirely, because it's primarily one of abuse.  These are children, young children, far too young to consent to anything.  Too young to have any grasp of birth control.  They are true victims.

Education won't necessarily save these kids from these situations.  Contraceptives won't save them either.   Their families, the ones charged with their care, are often the very ones abusing them.

I look at my girls, ages 7 & 9, and I can't fathom living in a world where they could be victimized like this.  My heart hurts for Dafne, and for all the other little girls lost.

Recent reports from ABC news state that the doctor implanted a contraceptive device into the girl's arm, not sterilized her.  Also, the stepfather has been confirmed as the father of the baby.

5 comments:

  1. A very powerful post, Debie. My heart aches for that girl! What were they thinking of when they chose to sterilize her? How did people let this happen? So many questions that apparently have no answer!

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  2. I also wonder what the effects of steriziling her at such a young age might do to her as well.

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  3. Very well thought out. This whole story makes me sick. It also brings to mind the castration they do on African girls to make sure they do not feel anything during sex. Women still have a long way to go. Prayers are with her.

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  4. These stories break my heart and make me so angry.

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