With Florence Amagiya
On beyond pardon this week is the case of a girl who was gang raped at 18. She did not tell her family about the ugly incident because of the stigma, but she found out that she is pregnant. What do you advice her to do? Hear what a medical doctor has to say on this heart rending issue.
Termination of the pregnancy is only the right thing to do if…. – Dr. Julius Ojibo Agbo, Manager, Medical. Nigerian Ports Authority.
The truth is that rape is highly under reported because of the stigma it could cause the victim especially when they are married. It is only when the victim is injured physically that it becomes an issue. Some women have suffered broken homes because they were raped.
When a victim of rape is taken to the hospital the procedure is that the patient is examined by a qualified doctor, he checks her menstrual cycle to rule out pregnancy and run some blood and swap test to rule out HIV and other STDs. If she is HIV positive, she is given anti- retroviral drugs to minimize the infection.
If she is pregnant, then the interval between when she was raped and when she was brought to the hospital must have taken a while, at least two weeks. To ascertain pregnancy correctly, it has to take more than one week.
Termination of the pregnancy is only the right thing to do if she were my sister. I strongly believe that rape is a legal reason for termination of pregnancy. Finally, she will do very well when she sees a Psychologist because it is not just the body of the victim that was raped, her mind was raped too. She will be traumatized; hence she needs a Psychologist to heal her mind.
Let her keep the pregnancy – Naomi Ugbokodo, Corps member
The first thing l will do if she is my sister, is to take her to the hospital for treatment and run some test on her. If she is pregnant, then she will keep the pregnancy because we do not know why it was allowed in the first place. God is awesome and knows all things. It is not the child’s fault and so should not pay for it. Every child has a right to life.
God is against the termination of unborn babies – Chukwuma Maduagwu, Youth coordinator.
The young lady involved was kidnapped, raped by the gang, and now she is pregnant; the question/focus now should be:
1. What will she do with the pregnancy?
2. How can she forgive the gang?
Starting with question one. I will advise that she keeps the pregnancy, she should have the baby. This is not forgetting the fact that she would rather get rid of all that will remind her of the unimaginable act. The question to ask is: Given that the Almighty God is against the termination of unborn babies, does the situation (yes, very serious) give us enough reasons to suspend the provision of the word of God? I think the answer is ‘NO!’ She should keep the baby.
Another advice I will give is, she should endeavour to give the baby the best of training and education, in an attempt to turn what the devil meant for shame into blessing.
The ultimate advice to her is that she should forgive. The pain and trauma of being raped by one man is deeply devastating. To be raped by a gang? Unbelievable! Humanly speaking, she would wish death and brimstones on all of them. Don’t get me wrong, the wrath of the law should come on them if they are ever caught. But that will not be the end of the case. She should not take it from her mind alone, by forgiving the perpetrators, she will be healed.
If she doesn’t forgive them the effect may not be very good on her and the child. The child may grow up and feels her wrath and anger and that will not be good for his or her health and life. Not forgiving the gang may affect all her relationships with men. When she eventually gets married, her home will also be affected. The way she relates with her husband, the male friends of her daughters and so forth. Forgiveness is the final process to her healing
She should have freedom and access to free and safe abortion – Dr. Emeke Nelson Chegwe
Discussion on rape and abortion raises issues in reproductive health and rights of the female genda; therefore it is important to define reproductive health and sexual right. Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its function and processes. Reproductive health therefore means that people are able to have a satisfying, safe sex life and that they have the capacity to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
On the other hand, sexual health is expressed in the free and responsible expression of sexual capabilities that foster in harmony for the personal and social wellness, enriching individual and social life. It therefore implies that for sexual right to be maintained. It is necessary that the sexual rights of all the people be recognized and upheld. This also implies that women should be able to enjoy robust sexual, legal and moral value that illegalizes abortion life on an equal footing with their male counterpart without the burden of unwanted pregnancies and when it does occur, the freedom and access to free and safe abortion without social or cultural bottle necks. In the case at hand, the male rapist cannot bear the risk of unwanted pregnancy though he committed the offence in the first place.
Women have continued to be victimized by male dominated society in the issue of abortion. Apart from the biblical Virgin Mary, history has not recorded any other woman who has been impregnated without the direct or indirect agency of her opposite gender nevertheless; women alone in the first instance are the victims of legal and moral values that criminalize abortion. The decision either to carry pregnancy to its full term or to terminate same is not an isolated legal or moral decision but one that has far reaching health implication for the life of the pregnant woman. In view of our very high maternal mortality rate in Nigeria. Studies show that more women die in Nigeria from pregnancy related complications than men are to die by traffic accident in one year.