In India, a law was introduced to fight India’s unbalanced gender ratio. This is because of a cultural preference for sons, that has led to millions of female fetuses being aborted. The law states that no fetuses are to be terminated after 20 weeks unless the woman’s life is in danger. However, India’s Supreme Court has received many petitions for an abortion from women who have been raped, but the decision has always been given to medical experts.
The latest petition was from a 10-year-old girl who lives in Rohtak town in Haryana state. The young girl was raped by her step-father on multiple occasions but was told to never tell anyone. Fortunately, the young girl’s mother had a suspicion that she was pregnant and consequently took her to the doctors. After the pregnancy was confirmed, the child told her mother about her sexual abuse and the step-father was arrested after the mother lodged a police complaint, senior Rohtak police official Pankaj Nain told the BBC.
This case caused lots of controversy because of the victim’s age and the fact that the doctors are unsure whether she is 19 weeks pregnant or 21 weeks pregnant because the technology that they are using isn’t able to give a fully accurate reading.
“She is around 20 weeks pregnant, but it could be 19 weeks or it could be 21 weeks. The technology is not so advanced that it can tell you exactly what week she’s in.” Said Dr. Ashok Chauhan, medical superintendent at PGIMS, told the BBC.
Thankfully, the young girl will be allowed to have her pregnancy terminated any day now, but many rape victims are not as fortunate. Rape is a rarely discussed topic in India, despite the fact that India has the highest amount of sexually abused children globally. Sadly, children in India don’t feel comfortable enough to talk to their parents or teachers (which is the case across the whole world), but in India families often encourage their children not to talk about their rape or sexual abuse in fear of dishonoring the family name. So, because of this thousands and thousands of cases go unreported and the rapist, who is often someone close to the child victim, never ends up going to jail.
Thankfully in recent years, India has opened their eyes to the problem and today, child rights charity World Vision India launched a new campaign to end child sexual abuse by 2021. Hopefully, rape will become a more talked about issue in India, which will enable a solution to be found much quicker.