Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Catholic Church Excommunicates Family of 9 Year Old Rape Victim

When I was nine years old, I was a happy fourth-grader. I loved my teacher, Mrs. Mather, even though it was she who made me sit near the front of the class because I wore glasses. My favorite things to do were to ride our ancient pony named Smokey and play with my best friend, who just so happened to live next door (of course).

Unfortunately, not all nine-year-olds have the privilege of such a carefree existence. A nine-year-old from the state of Pernambuco in Brazil became pregnant with twins earlier this year after her stepfather raped her. The man, who was supposed to be a father figure in her life, had been sexually abusing her since she was six years old, according to this BBC article. And the police now suspect he was abusing the girl’s older, mentally handicapped sister.

The child’s family was a member of the Catholic Church. Instead of the church reaching out to help this family during a time of great stress, it instead tried to intervene with the family’s plan to abort the twins. As a result, the girl’s family and the doctors who assisted in the procedure have been excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church. The Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho made the announcement, saying it was “God’s Laws” that abortion was a sin.

After completing further research, I found an article which states, “Psychosocial stress may be a stimulant of, as well as a response, to puberty. A study of preteen girls who were sexually abused suggested that the abuse may have served as a stressor that stimulated the hypothalamus to activate the process of puberty.” So, this girl was repeatedly sexually abused by her stepfather since she was six years old, which may have contributed to her early puberty and resulting pregnancy.

The girl only weighed about 66 pounds, and her pelvis was not fully developed, so it is obvious that she could not have carried TWINS to full term, let alone delivered them. But the Catholic Church insists she could have undergone a cesarean section.

This entire story is horrifying, and I cannot believe the lack of compassion or understanding shown by the Catholic Church. Then again, they haven’t got the best record with children victims of sexual abuse, have they? I hate to sound insensitive, but I’m sure this girl’s family and the doctors who saved her life are better off without the Catholic Church. As a former member, I know this from experience.






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