As parents, we generally want to do everything we can to protect our children against life's harshest circumstances. Many of us go to great lengths to do so. Some may work very long hours in undesirable jobs to make sure their children are well fed, clothed and educated. Parents often make personal sacrifices so that their children's lives are somewhat better than perhaps their own had been and to make sure they have every opportunity to succeed. Parents would surely do everything humanly possible to protect their children from physical and emotional harm, and it would be hard to hold back the outrage against any person who threatened or hurt them.
Imagine then, a scenario where your 12yr old daughter comes to you because she has been sexually assaulted. You call the authorities, or take her to a local doctor, first of all to ensure that she is physically okay, and secondly to find out what you need to do to ensure the perpetrator is brought to justice and your child will be safe. She might be examined and probably questioned about what happened to her. She is then told that there is something even worse than this that could happen.. in fact, it is so bad, that the first thing that needs to happen is that her body needs to be chemically altered to ensure it is impossible. A small metal rod needs to be inserted under her skin so that she won't fall pregnant. Having a baby would be terrible. She might wonder how on earth she would be having a baby; you are probably wondering the same thing; perhaps concerned that you're misunderstanding; perhaps they think she might already be pregnant and that's what they are talking about.
The doctor then explains to you that 'no, she isn't pregnant, but we don't want her to get pregnant do we... you know.. when this happens again.'
What you have just been offered is the solution currently on offer to a number of Indigenous communities in our country, where pregnancy is considered intolerable, but rape of children is tolerated. Children from Indigenous communities in Queensland are being given contraceptive implant to prevent pregnancy when it is known they have been sexually abused, sometimes for years. They are then sent back to the perpetrators, who are not charged, and are perhaps expected to be happy that they have been saved from a fate worse than repeated rape: an 'unwanted' baby. Tolerated isn't in fact a strong enough word for this. When we sterilise girl children so that they won't get pregnant, knowing that the most likely way this will happen is if they are raped, you are not only condoning the actions of rapists, but encouraging them.
In what ways must a mother have given up hope for her own life, and the life of her child, for her to give her consent to such an action? What are we saying about the value of the lives of these little girls when we tell them that having a child would be worse than being raped, therefore we are going to ensure the former doesn't happen and send you back to the danger?
Why isn't this making every national headline, repeatedly? It is nothing short of state sanctioned rape of vulnerable children, and it has to stop.
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