10-year-old raped: ‘Her stomach was growing, we wondered why’
Abuse of any kind is a hindrance to a child’s psychological development, but many studies show that sexual abuse and assault can alter physical growth in adolescents too.punjab Updated: Jul 27, 2017 14:19 IST
Even as the family of the 10-year-old rape survivor comes to terms with her trauma, many relatives have talked about how the girl’s mother was late in detecting her daughter’s pregnancy. The girl is over 30 weeks’ pregnant now and underwent a medical examination at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research on Wednesday.
Abuse of any kind is a hindrance to a child’s psychological development, but many studies show that sexual abuse and assault can alter physical growth in adolescents too. Victims of such abuse are likely to physically mature and hit puberty earlier.
A gynaecologist from Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, requesting anonymity, said, “The girl was menstruating since the age of nine. Early menstruation is common now with changes in lifestyle. Many girls studying in Classes 6 or 7 have already got their period by the time they receive sex education.”
Some female relatives of the girl said she stopped getting her period over two months before the check-up that revealed the pregnancy. The mother’s younger sister-in-law who resides in a quarter in the same neighbourhood said, “The little one was getting her period for quite sometime now, from perhaps when she was nine years old. But I think didi didn’t realise she stopped getting them. Or it could have been a signal.” She added that her niece didn’t tell her mother.
However, many have said they noticed a growing bump. “I remember telling didi that gudiya’s stomach was growing and we wondered why. But she dismissed it by saying she eats too much rice which was making her put on weight,” said another relative.
The family’s landlady convinced the girl’s mother to get her checked. Another woman who lives nearby said she noticed something odd about the girl’s stomach when she was playing in an open lawn in the colony. “The family had just returned from a month’s holiday from their native village when I felt that the girl’s stomach had grown further. That’s when I asked her mother to leave everything aside and get her checked. It took some convincing, but she agreed to go to the hospital and later we got to know of the pregnancy,” she added.