An 11-year-old Brazilian girl is three months pregnant after being sexually assaulted. Her story has made headlines not just because it is another example of the scourge of child abuse in Brazil, but because it is the second time she has fallen pregnant as a result of rape. In both instances, the girl’s mother stopped the child from having an abortion, reported the Brazilian daily, Folha de S.Paulo.
The identity of the young girl has not been made public. What is known is that she gave birth to her first baby a year ago and that she lives in Teresina, the capital of the state of Piauí, in northeastern Brazil, which is the most impoverished area of the country. She has been living in a shelter for a month after breaking ties with her parents.
Every hour, four Brazilian girls are raped. In the past year, more than 66,000 sexual assaults were recorded, according to Brazilian Forum for Public Safety (FBSP), and in nearly seven out of 10 cases, the victim was under 13 years of age. In eight out of 10 cases, the aggressor was known to the victim.
Under Brazilian law, abortion is legal in cases of rape, but young girls are often forced to continue with the pregnancy, either due to opposition from their family, as happened with the 11-year-old from Piauí, or lack of access to medical services. In Brazil, about 2,000 legal abortions are performed every year, while the number of yearly illegal abortions is estimated to be around one million.
In response to the story, Debora Diniz, a researcher and reproductive rights activist, tweeted: “Just thinking about the 11-year-old girl from Piauí, raped twice and pregnant, I am convinced that criminalizing abortion is torture in the form of law.”
When the young girl had her first baby, she dropped out of school, refused psychological treatment and fell out with her parents. A medical test confirmed Friday that she was pregnant for a second time. “She wasn’t menstruating, she was behaving suspiciously and she was withdrawn, so we took her in for a check-up and found out she was pregnant. It was a scare, a shock,” said a representative of the girl’s guardianship board.
This time, the father of the victim was in favor of the girl having an abortion, but her mother, a 29-year-old housewife, was against the idea and insisted the 11-year-old have the child. In the first pregnancy, both the mother and the child opposed an abortion, even when a doctor said that carrying the pregnancy to full term could put the minor’s life at risk. In that instance, the young girl was raped by her 25-year-old cousin, who was killed shortly after. With the second pregnancy, the identity of the aggressor remains unknown.