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Rated: E · Editorial · Cultural · #1309295
In third world cultures, child abuse takes on a whole new meaning

A news story came on that haunted me so much that I had nightmares about it. A young woman-child, about thirteen, in a third world country was crouching in the dirt with a small bundle in her arms. When she looked up at the camera, her eyes spoke depths of sadness. Her expression was a child waging a desperate war within herself.

I can hardly wrap my mind around this horrible thing. At thirteen, I was waiting on the newest Beatles album. My "boyfriend" and I went to parties together and football games. The most stressful thing in my life was pimples and whether I had friends and how many.

I am a retired Registered Nurse who worked in Women and Childrens Health. Thirteen is only a child. Most girls that have babies at that age can't even deliver vaginally due to their small pelvic structure. They usually have to have a cesarean. So it is amazing this child was able to deliver at all. Many young females, in these countries, sustain lesions in the genital area at deliveries that they leak urine constantly afterwards.

Girls living in poverty in America have poor diets without enough calcium and protein to build bones. Medicaid has a WIC program so poverty level women can get milk, cheese, eggs etc. These children in undeveloped countries don't even have the diet of our poorest citizens.

The village people glare at this girl who appears to hate herself. She has brought shame to her family. A woman walks by and spits at the girl then kicks dirt into her face. The facts are she was forced by a married man to have sex and the result was a baby. This isn't unusual for a married man to do this. These girls/women are taught to do as they are told by adult men.

In their country, the penalty for adultery is death by stoning for the woman. I was astounded that such a practice continues. Her swaddled baby boy was both a blessing and a curse. He would protect her from death until he was weaned from her breast. But in the meantime, she is treated as an outcast. She will sleep on the ground and eat only what she can salvage. The baby also gives her time for an appeal, but only one appeal had ever been reversed.

Her final day would be brutal. She will be buried, to the neck, in stones. Then villagers would throw rocks at her until she was dead. The baby would go to her relatives.

Where was the man that provided the sperm in all this? I think that is an important question.

The last video of this news story was a child like figure crouched in the dirt.
I believe tears were falling on the head of that precious bundle.

By Kathie Stehr
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