An unnamed ten year-old girl in Colombia has sparked outrage around the world, from claims that she has given birth to a five pound baby. According to reports, she came to the hospital, bleeding, in pain and gave birth by C-section.
Tribal law versus state law
It has been stated that the girl belonged to the Wayuu tribe which can be exempt from Colombian law in some cases. Experts have argued that this is not something new for a member of the Wayuu tribe and the problem is increasing. “We’ve already seen similar cases of Wayuu girls,” Efraín Pacheco Casadiego, the director of the hospital where the girl gave birth, told the local radio station.
The girl’s plight has raised questions of interference and culture. The girl is a member of an indigenous tribe called the Waayu, that originate from the La Guajira Peninsula in the north of Columbia. Although Colombian police could prosecute the father for underage sex, the country’s constitutional law allows the isolated Wayuu tribe to keep to their own laws and gives them a certain amount of autonomy.
How young is too young?
The case of the Waayu girl is extreme but it does raise the issue of underage sex. With some girls getting their period very early the possibility of getting pregnant at an early age is very real. Therefore it may lead them to having sex at a young age.
A child who has started her menses can technically give birth. But, it is dangerous for a child as young as ten to get pregnant and have a baby. Then too, emotionally, a ten year-old is too young to handle the responsibility of having a baby.
Also read: I gave birth at 18!