10-Year-Old Chandigarh Rape Survivor Delivers; What Happens Now?
Will the family raise the child that the 10-year-old rape survivor delivered? Read to find out.
(The 10-year-old rape survivor in Chandigarh delivered on 17 August, a month after the Supreme Court rejected the possibility of an abortion after a plea was filed. The girl was repeatedly raped allegedly by her uncle for several months. This story was first published on 28 July 2017 and is being reposted from The Quint’s archives.)
Uncertainty looms over the life of the 10-year-old rape survivor.
The child was helpless for months while she was being raped repeatedly by her uncle, and continues to be helpless as she goes on to become a mother in the next few weeks.
At 30 weeks of pregnancy, abortion is not on the cards anymore ruled the Supreme Court on Friday. The top court acted upon a PIL filed by a Delhi-based lawyer which sought counsel from highly specialised doctors to come up with a way to ensure the survival of both. Real risks are involved and it is possible that she might not live to see the pregnancy through.
A senior psychiatrist from Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) said if she survives, this will have a strong bearing on her life in the long term.
At this age of life, one cannot have a worse trauma than this. This is the worst thing that can happen to a 10-year-old girl child.
No Control Over Her Present
At the age of 10, can the girl even comprehend the scale of what has happened to her?
A senior psychiatrist from GMCH, who is aware of the case, said as of now the minor doesn’t understand what she has gone through.
The girl was being raped for months by her uncle, but didn’t complain to her parents. There is a possibility that the girl has no personal distress about what has happened because of a lack of understanding, the delay in telling her parents proves that. It is possible there is lesser trauma currently due to this.
But since the likelihood of deep-seated sub-conscious trauma is there, the psychiatrist added that the girl will need to be counselled and checked upon regularly for years ahead.
Option to Not Raise 10-Year-Old Rape Survivor
Devi Sirohi, who was the first chairperson of the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights said if the parents want to give either child for adoption, the Child Welfare Committee will step in.
Yes, you heard that right. Either child.
Here, however, the family wants to continue to raise their child, said Neil Roberts, Child Welfare Committee head.
To Raise the Unborn Child or Not
The 10-year-old child has carried the foetus in her womb for close to 30 weeks, but her lack of understanding, coupled with her tender age, means she has little to no control over what happens to her offspring.
Roberts told The Quint that currently one counsellor has been assigned to the family to ensure support. He added that the decision of giving up the unborn child for adoption may be made before childbirth. Though, if the family wants to raise the child, they have that option too. If not, the child comes before the committee and is cleared for adoption.
The family’s public prosecutor, Atul Sethi, says the parents had accepted the district court’s judgement of not permitting the abortion, since doctors had felt it would endanger their daughter. They didn’t want to move the high court.
Oddly enough though, he pointed out that he never met or spoke to the family.
Years down the line, the 10-year-old will know she had no say in where her baby was taken. The accused might be behind bars, but the predicament the child and her family finds themselves in today has forever changed their tomorrow.
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