According to latest official estimates, 19 children between the age of eight and 17 have been raped in Comoros in the past two months only
By Abouhariat Saïd Abdallah
MORONI – Yasmine, 11, became the youngest mother in Comoros when she gave birth to the child of her rapist, a family member, in the latest incident of rampant child abuse in the country.
The female child gave birth in a hospital in Moroni on February 17, after she had been raped by her uncle-in-law, who was slapped with an 8-year jail sentence and a fine of roughly $22,000.
Yasmine`s doctor dated the incident back to last June, but her mother was notified about the rape four months later by a school teacher.
"Yasmine`s mother brought her to us four months into her pregnancy," Wardat Hussein, director of the country`s Child Protection Authority, said.
He said the 11-year-old girl was referred to a gynecologist after the rape was proven through preliminary examination.
Slowly recovering from delivery, Yasmine now has to take care of her child, who was prematurely born in the 33th week of her pregnancy to avoid subjecting her fragile body to "major health risks," her doctors asserted.
"Yasmine`s life has turned into a nightmare between tears of bitterness and the pain of the memory," her mother told Anadolu Agency after her traumatized child failed to speak about her experience.
"All her dreams were shattered before her eyes overnight," the mother added, "I plead to God, how someone could do this to a child."
The mother went on to say that Yasmine`s health remains in poor shape. Although the child had received government healthcare, it is still not enough according to Hussein, who says that Yasmine`s access to medical care - provided mainly by the UN Child Rights and Emergency Relief Organization (UNICEF) - remains limited since her case is only one of many that the country`s UNICEF bureau has to tend to.
Yasmine`s mother also said the family could not afford a lawyer to follow through with the lawsuit. The penalty for sexual assault under Comorian law ranges from 5 to 10 years.
The lawsuit sent shockwaves across the country. Activists had organized a number of demonstrations against the incident.
"The verdict is satisfactory," legal expert Ahmada Hamido told AA, adding that local media should increase the focus on the trial.
Hussein agrees, saying that "The verdict would be fair if the offender served out the full term".
She went on to criticize the court`s failure to rule for material compensation and psychological care for Yasmine and her family due to the lack of regulations stipulating legal compensation for the rape victims.
According to latest official estimates, 19 children between the age of eight and 17 have been raped in Comoros in the past two months only.
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