An 11 year-old girl who on Thursday prematurely gave birth to a child is said to be in a stable condition, as police today confirmed investigations were now under way into the case.
The girl, who cannot be identified due to her age, gave birth to the child two months prematurely. The child died early morning on Friday (November 2), after being taken to Feydhoo regional hospital in Seenu Atoll for further treatment, local media has reported.
The Maldives Police Service confirmed investigations into the matter were taking place, but said further details could not be disclosed due to the age of the child and the risk she could be identified and face possible recrimination.
A police spokesperson was unable to confirm the nature of the investigation at present.
However, local newspaper Haveeru, citing what it called reliable sources, reported that the girl had allegedly been a frequent victim of sexual assault before becoming pregnant.
“She came here with her mother complaining of constipation and stomach pain. Doctors had examined her and given an injection. But when she started to complain of severe pain, upon further examination doctors found that she was pregnant. The girl admitted that she got pregnant after someone had sexually molested her,” Haveeru quoted a local health centre official as saying.
The Health Ministry has meanwhile forwarded further requests for information on the case to the Ministry of Gender, Family and Human Rights, which is mandated to deal with the matter.
Gender Minister Dhiyana Saeed was not responding to calls from Minivan News at the time of press.
Almost one in seven children of secondary school age in the Maldives have been sexually abused at some time in their lives, according to an unpublished 2009 study on violence against minors.
Rates of sexual abuse for girls are almost twice as high than for boys at 20 percent – one in five girls have been sexually abused – while the figure for boys was 11 percent. Girls are particularly at risk in the capital Male’, the report found.
In recent years, local authorities and NGOs have released a number of findings trying to detail the extent of child abuse and wider sexual assaults within society.
The state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital’s (IGMH’s) Family Protection Unit reported in 2010 that the centre was notified of 42 cases of rape between 2005-2010. Most of these cases were found to involve minors.
According to the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, 13 rape cases were reported last year alone, the majority of which most were gang rapes or assaults involving minors.