Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

There’s no allegedly about this rape.

The tragic case of the 11 yr old girl from Paraguay, who was denied an abortion in spite of fears the pregnancy and labour may be a risk to her life, featured in the news recently due to the birth of her baby daughter. She was delivered by C-section and weighed 6lb 6oz. I have no idea how a young child can be expected to care for a new-born baby, but sincerely hope that they are both being supported.

The 11yr olds’ mother has been charged with child neglect and complicity. The step-father has been charged with the rape and abuse of a child. This is where the allegedly should be positioned, before the accused. It is right that newspapers should use the word allegedly when reporting crimes before the perpetrator has been convicted. However, there is no allegedly about the fact this young girl was raped.

The age of consent in Paraguay is 14, with regards to heterosexual relationships, and this is mirrored across most of South America. Therefore, a child of 13 years or under does not have the capacity to consent to sex under Paraguayan law. No consent equals rape. So, Daily Mirror there is no need to add the adverb ‘allegedly’ when calling her pregnancy a result of rape. In my opinion, I would rather they stated she was raped and left the stepfather to the authorities. Does it somehow make it understandable or less distressful that it was a close family member?

She was 10 yrs old when her Mother took her to the hospital complaining of abdominal pains in late April of this year. It was then discovered she was 21 weeks pregnant. The mother was arrested and detained at some point and released on bond in June. It was in May that the story broke across the world due to the denial of abortion. She was a young child and a rape victim. She was being forced to continue with a pregnancy because of that country’s draconian laws regarding accessing abortion.

According to CNN, you might be interested to learn that upon release from jail, the Mother informed the media that she had reported the abuse to authorities in November 2013 but was herself referred to a psychologist and no investigation took place. I only hope that a full and thorough investigation is carried out and the courts in Paraguay can deliver justice to this young family. The 11yr old child has already had her body and her rights violated by the country’s laws.

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