Crime & Courts

Mother of 9-year-old pregnant girl breaks her silence

The mother of a pregnant nine-year-old girl reveals her thoughts.

The mother of the pregnant nine-year-old Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe girl has broken her silence on the strange situation, claiming that the thing that hurts her the most is the fact that her daughter is unaware that she is pregnant and believes that she is suffering from some kind of stomach disease instead.

The girl’s mother, who is 26 years old and cannot be named due to professional reasons, disclosed in an exclusive interview with Sunday News in Bulawayo on Friday that her daughter began having monthly menstrual cycles when she was just seven years old in the year 2020. The interview took place in Bulawayo. It came to light as the traumatised mother talked up about the event that the father of the kid had allegedly told the mother that “goblins will visit her at night and insert something on her private parts.”

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When it was found out on August 29th, 2022 that the minor was pregnant, the minor’s father, who is 29, was arrested and is currently assisting the police with their investigations. Allegedly, the nine-year-old girl only saw the goblins that her father had warned her about on evenings when her mother was not at home and she was left in her father’s care. This is consistent with the fact that the father had informed his daughter about the goblins. Because the mother was in such a state of disarray, she decided not to accept the offer to see her daughter on Friday. Instead of going inside the room where her kid is being cared for, she decided to go away and sit in the foyer of the safe house instead of going into the room. She stated that she could not bear to observe her daughter in such a condition.

“She is pregnant but has no idea what is wrong with her. She does not even realise that she is pregnant. The last time I saw her, she questioned whether or not I would take her back to her house once she had recovered from her illness, since she is aware that this is where she belongs. I saw that she had begun menstruation in the year 2020, when she was only seven years old, and I brought her to the doctor to find out what could have been the source of this development.

They told me that it was conceivable for her to begin menstruating at an earlier age due to the meals that are typically consumed by youngsters in today’s society. After we got back home, I observed that she had some swelling in her tummy in August of this year, so I took her back to the hospital, where it was confirmed that she was pregnant. I did not anticipate that she may be pregnant because it comes as quite a surprise to us and is something that is very strange to us that a child as young as nine can become pregnant.

When asked if her daughter had notified her about the sexual abuse that her granddaughter was through, the woman replied that she had not.

“She has never said anything; we tried to question her about what took place, but she has refused to talk about it up until this point.” The fact that I do not know what happened to my daughter causes me a lot of pain. Concerned as well is my immediate family on this matter. Because she is so young and pregnant, it scares me to think about what might happen to her in the future. I never noticed any changes in her behaviour, and as a result, I never picked up on the fact that she was probably being abused. She had not changed at all up until the point that we found out she was pregnant. She started going to school at the beginning of this academic year, but she had a habit of missing school on some days. When she got home, she would report that she had been driven away from school by bullies. “She was going to school,” the other person stated.

She would occasionally go to school and then immediately hide behind the restrooms, only to be discovered when the break period began. At the end of the second semester, when she was occasionally disguising herself from others and going home, she decided to quit attending classes. She did not sign up for the third term of classes and did not attend.

As soon as the first signs of menstruation appeared, the family went to see a prophet in order to gain some spiritual guidance on what was causing the menstruation, as they were unsatisfied with the explanation that they received from the hospital. The mother reported that the prophet led them in prayer beside them. The mother also stated that she did not have any possible suspects in mind for the sexual assault that was committed on her child, and that she was hoping that the offender would be brought to justice. She also recognised that her husband, who worked as a community builder and was 29 years old, had been arrested, although she expressed disbelief at his detention.

She stated that following the delivery of the baby, she is hoping that her daughter will be able to return to school, but she wants her to be transferred to a different school in order to protect her from stigma and discrimination. The case is being handled by Mr. Brighton Ndebele, a probation officer in the Department of Social Development in Tsholotsho District, Matabeleland North province. Mr. Ndebele spoke to the Sunday News about his findings and weighed in on them.

“On April 27, 2021, the family went to the hospital in Tsholotsho after being referred by their local clinic to discuss their concerns on the menstrual child. When they arrived, they were advised that it was probable that she had experienced early puberty. In February of 2022, she no longer experienced menstrual bleeding, so they felt the problem had been resolved at that point. In approximately June or July, they found out that her stomach was swollen. They came in once more on the 29th of August 2022, this time with the child and a visibly pregnant belly, which turned out to be the pregnancy. We did not waste any time in getting the child to a secure location where they would be cared for by an experienced foster parent. “The father, who is 29 years old, was also taken into custody on the same day,” he stated.

Additionally, the mother was brought in for an interview with the law enforcement and officials from the social welfare agency. However, by the time it was determined that the girl was pregnant, it was thought to be too late for an abortion and could put the girl in risk.

“It was decided that the child was to remain in a safe place in the hope that she would disclose who had violated her, and also that the father was to remain in Tsholotsho Prison until the investigations are complete and additional tests are done on the baby. The hope is that the child will reveal who violated her.” We also continued with the Victim Friendly Unit in the village for additional investigations, and we even reached the prophet who the family had consulted over the menstrual child. These were all steps that we took in order to uncover the truth. Investigations required that we visit the school, as he said.

It was also decided that once she gives birth, she will not be permitted to keep the baby with her but will instead be given the opportunity to recover and will be shown the baby “at the proper moment.”

“The reasons are that she is a child who will be traumatised by child birth, and allowing her to take up the role of a mother and miss school will traumatise her further and make her lose confidence in front of her peers that she is a mother at nine years old. She is a child who will be traumatised by child birth.” Because of the potential difficulty for her, we will steer clear of that. If we are successful in keeping up the pretence that she is unaware that she is a mother for some time, we will have more time to figure out how best to break the news to her at a later time. This is the position that we decided to take during the discussion, but if other proposals are made, we will change,” Mr. Ndebele stated.

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