A teenage girl who was impregnated by her step father for the second time, committed suicide after her mother stood in defence of her husband to save her marriage.
The shocking revelations were made by the Ngami District Health Management Team during a parent-child communication dialogue event which put into sharp focus the plight of children, especially young girls.
Keneilwe Thankane, a nurse at Maun’s youth friendly services told of how the 18-year-old schoolgirl had refused to undergo another abortion at home after the second pregnancy by the step father and instead wrote a suicide note before taking her own life by overdozing her mother’s high blood pressure medication.
“The first time she informed her father about the pregnancy soon after missing her first period and he got her something to drink in order to abort the pregnancy. When she complained about the terrible stomach pain the mother said “o a tshameka ngwanyana, o batla go ntshenyetsa lenyalo? (girl you are playing games. Do you want to destroy my marriage?). When she became pregnant again she kept quiet about it until three months later and when the father gave her the medicine she put it aside and the mother discovered the termination was never done when the girl was five months pregnant and she took her to the clinic claiming she was sexually abused by someone at school,” she explained.
Thankane who was addressing the workshop that was organised by the Ministry of Basic Education in Maun was giving examples of on going abuses and atrocities perpetrated against children Ngamiland by men and trusted family members. Cases of step fathers especially were said to be common in this region.
In the past one and half years, clinics in and around Maun recorded 648 teenage pregnancies, of which 17 were girls under the age of 15 years.
Thankane noted that the numbers could even be higher if all the cases were reported. “Some parents help their children abort these pregnancies and therefore such cases are never reported and recorded.”
These pregnancies mean these children indulge in unprotected sex and therefore are exposed to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and their right to education is disrupted. Thankane added that they have recorded 35 cases of children aged between 6 and 19 who had sexually transmitted diseases.
She advised parents to look out for recurring tonsil pains on younger girls because it could be a sign that perpetrators insert their penises on the victims mouths instead of the womanhood to rape and molest them and thus give them diseases through their mouths.
At the same workshop, the police and social services departments reiterated Thankane’s confirmations noting that children as young as three to five years of age were being raped in this part of the country, sometimes by their biological fathers.
The workshop was a call to implement the East and Southern Africa commitment on comprehensive sexuality education; a provision of sexual and reproductive health services for young people endorsed in 2013, which is in its final year; 2020.