Police probe sexual assault of 8-year-old girl set to give birth in November

BULAWAYO – Matabeleland North police have launched an investigation after an eight-year-old girl fell pregnant.

She is thought to be the youngest expecting mum in the history of the country – and very likely a rape victim, doctors say.

National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said Monday that they would provide further details about the investigation on Tuesday.

Abortion is illegal in Zimbabwe, but hospitals can terminate pregnancies after rape victims obtain a court order under provisions of the Termination of the Pregnancy Act. In the child’s case, doctors decided an abortion would be too dangerous after she was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals already eight-months pregnant.

The child, who recently turned nine, was taken to the hospital by officials from the department of social welfare who came across the unusual case in Tsholotsho district, Matabeleland North.

Doctors say the child has a rare condition of “precocious puberty” – when hormone glands are activated earlier than normal.

The youngest known person to give birth was Lina Medina of Peru, who was five years and seven months when she delivered a 2.69kg baby boy by cesarean section in Lima.

There are at least two known six-year-olds who gave birth, at least nine eight-year-olds and 27 nine-year-olds, according to researchers. Just six of those were African, and none of the births took place in Zimbabwe.

Last month, a 13-year-old girl from Mkhosana Township in Victoria Falls gave birth in hospital, from where she sat one of her Grade 7 exam papers.

United Bulawayo Hospitals acting CEO Dr Harrison Murambanapasi said: “It’s a first in my career. The youngest I had seen earlier was a 12-year-old, a victim of rape. This is unfortunate.”

Murambanapasi said delivering the child would present “a lot of challenges.”

He told The Sunday News: “Before the changes of puberty have fully occurred, from around 11 years, intercourse is very traumatic because the body has not developed enough for her to be engaging in sexual activities.

“The resilience of the genitals is not yet developed. Before we even talk about her falling pregnant, this is obviously a result of an abusive relationship. Is this child capacitated to negotiate for safe sex? At this age they are also prone to sexually transmitted infections like HIV.”

Enjoyed this post? Share it!