15-year-old pregnant girl’s life at crossroads as partner goes to jail for rape

In Chhukha, a story unfolds of a girl whose journey into motherhood came sooner than she expected. Her path is fraught with legal complexities that threaten to tear her world apart. She’s 15, pregnant and her partner has been taken into custody.

The girl from Chhukha is four months pregnant now. She is the eldest child and has four siblings. Her parents are divorced.

She had to drop out of school at the beginning of this year after she conceived. Her partner, the 23-year-old man is from the same district. The man has been a responsible partner and they were happily living together with the man’s family. But their happiness was short-lived.

“We had been in a relationship for about a year. Then I became pregnant and by the time we knew, I was three months pregnant. He was really happy when we found out about the pregnancy. He was excited and said that the time had come for him to shoulder the responsibilities of a father. He was a hardworking man and he even quit smoking after I became pregnant.”

It was at the beginning of this month that police came to detain the man and took him away. She said she was devastated. She kept herself going with the hope that he would come home soon. She said they are unaware of the minimum legal age of marriage and how early marriage is considered rape. Her partner will be sentenced to at least nine years and up to 15 years in prison according to the existing laws in the country.

“I have been told that he would be detained for two months. This is a bit of a consolation for me. If I fall sick, I don’t have anyone to look after me. I was raised by a single mother. So if he is not sent home, I will request the authorities to take me in with him as well.”

Given the fact that both the girl and the man are from humble backgrounds, the days ahead for the young girl and the unborn child won’t be easy. Should anything happen to the young girl and her child, who is going to be responsible? Herself because she got pregnant at an early age? Or her husband who is ensnared by the laws of society he may not fully understand?

Kinley Dem, Chhukha

Edited by Kipchu

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