Pregnant at fifteen? No moral issues. Unmarried and pregnant at fifteen. Degeneration of society.

Rahmath and Unpretentious_Diva mentioned this news in comments to the previous post.

“MUMBAI: The fifteen-year-old girl who is six months pregnant is oblivious to the uproar her ‘condition’ has created not just in her family, but her neighbourhood in Borivli (E). She’s crushed by her boyfriend’s refusal to take responsibility and marry her, but is determined to raise her child and not give it up for adoption, which her parents have been urging her to do.” [Link]

Followed by,

“The girl’s parents, who are roadside vendors, approached the police who arrested the boy on charges of rape, as the girl was a minor.”[link]

The comments that follow the news article discuss,

1. Need for sex education. It seems in this case both the partners were aware of the risk of pregnancy and social stigma for the girl, that was why the boy had promised to marry the girl.

But anyway, sex education is not just about avoiding pregnancy, but also about the responsibilities involved [Link].

2. Modern culture and degeneration of values. The general belief seems to be that unmarried teenage pregnancies do not happen in traditional societies.Wrong! (Strangely, irrespective of whether sex was consensual or not, or the parents capable of raising the child, married teenage pregnancies are not seen as a moral concern, click if you disagree. And more here.)

Facts: Unmarried pregnant girls are frequently ‘honor killed‘ or the boy is forced to marry the girl. It becomes almost impossible for the girl to get married to anybody else if her pregnancy is not kept a secret. Condemnation for the girl is almost universal. this can also lead to death “A clandestine, and irresponsible, affair may prove dangerous. A city girl learnt it the hard way,”. Death (for the girl) is often seen as an honorable solution.

3. The 17 year old boyfriend’s responsibility.

Should consensual sex with 17 year old boyfriend, who lied and behaved irresponsibly, be seen as rape? He bought abortions pills and pregnancy kit for the girl, so he was not ignorant. He also promised to marry the girl, so he was aware of the social repercussions the girl might face. His parents also don’t want him to marry the 15 year old.

4. Should both the parents share the responsibility of raising the child now? Should the father or in case he is a minor, his parents, pay child support?

Let me share three comments below this news article.

1.

When people talk of segregation of sexes,dignified dressing and moral policing,Women organization are in the forefront to oppose it. Again when the woman is suffering they are blaming the boy for it,total hypocrisy.

2.
There are traditional Indian women who will not agree for pre-marital sex under any circumstances. Then there are Modern Indian woman- who agrees to pre marital sex, goes for live-in relationship, unwed motherhood, sexual experimentation…… off course the modern women, as compared to traditional women always wins the race for boy friends, costly valentine gay gifts, more flowers on birthday…. but every woman must understand that they are taking some risk which traditional women is not taking. You cant expect reward only. Modernity may be rewarding, but it has its own inherent risk……. and just dont blame men if your risky strategy didnt work out. A boy friend, or a sex partner or somone gave you flowers are not bound to marry you. May be, pre marital modernity of women is most repulsive part of marriage sanctity.

3.

Well, the boy’s actions are not exactly honourable. First he gets her pregnant by insisting on unprotected sex, next he tries abortion, and finally starts avoiding her! Are you saying the boy should be allowed to shirk his responsibility? If he got her pregnant, he should support the child along with her, whether he eventually marries her or not. Ideally, of course, he should marry her, but the least he should do is to support the child. Or are you saying that the girl should face the burden on her own?

Related posts:

What would Taliban say to Juno?

Teenage Pregnancies – not our culture…

When life ends at 12.

If she was born somewhere else.

Sex Education has nothing to do with Blue Films.

No second chances for an Indian daughter.

Irresponsible girls who throw away their lives while in throes of lust for the completely wrong person…

Don’t let me down dear daughter!

A clandestine affair may prove dangerous, a city girl learnt it the hard way.

Karishma’s mother could have been saved too.

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80 thoughts on “Pregnant at fifteen? No moral issues. Unmarried and pregnant at fifteen. Degeneration of society.

  1. My thoughts:

    1. Both were minors. Essentially, he was only two years older than her. Yes, he promised to marry her but legally they are not allowed to marry at 17. He may have bought pills etc., which means she also knew there was a danger of getting pregnant.
    2. I know that under some laws, having sex with someone on the promise of marriage and reneging is considered statutory rape. I’m not in favour of this law. It focuses too much on virginity before marriage. I’m not sure if this law applies in India, and whether it applies when both are minors.
    3. Yes, the boy behaved badly. But behaving badly, making false promises is not the same as rape in the sense of rape as forced sex.
    4. Getting married just because there is a baby involved is not the solution. Then you land up with two problems instead of one – an unwanted baby and an unwanted marriage, instead of just one.
    5. The boy has to take responsibility for the child he helped create. This can be legally enforced and should be.

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  2. Completely agree with The Bride’s comments. Bad behavior is not the same as criminal behavior. However, yes, the boy should at least monetarily, contribute to the child’s upkeep. Just because the girl carries the child to term, is no reason for her to shoulder the burden alone. As for the comments, they are largely in the “wages of sin” mould, and Indian society is going to take time to come out of that mindset. Apart from this particular case, there is much to be said for the need for sex education in India. What is surprising is that when the teenagers had no hesitation going up to a chemist and buying emergency pills and a pregnancy kit, why not a condom? Was it just not seen as essential, or were they buying into myths like “having sex once won’t get you pregnant?”

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      • The Bride,

        There are also many Indian men, well-heeled and highly educated, who think condoms decrease sexual pleasure (for men) and that contraception and accidental pregnancy are solely a woman’s problem.

        I briefly dated a man a few years ago who casually informed me, that if we ever had sex, contraception would be my responsibility always.

        He also thought that the morning after pill was a great contraceptive tool because men didn’t have to worry about accidental pregnancy because their partners had forgotten to take the Pill.

        When I told him that frequent us of emergency contraception could decrease a woman’s chances of conception in later life, his answer was, “Well, it’s not my problem, unless I intend to marry her; and I’d never marry a such a woman.”

        I suspect that such attitudes are held by the vast majority of Indian men, caste and class no bar (as we love to say)!

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      • I’m quite sure that plenty of men hold these opinions. At the end of the day, though, each of us has to take responsibility for our own bodies and decide where we draw the line.Men may try to take the option that suits them best, so be it… women need to opt for what suits them best. Sex education might help both to understand that contraception is not the only issue of concern – there are STDs that are not going to be prevented with a morning after pill and even men can get these.

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        • I feel knowing they would have to pay child support (no matter how clear they made that they were not interested in children or marriage) might make a lot of men take responsibility for using contraception.

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      • “I feel knowing they would have to pay child support (no matter how clear they made that they were not interested in children or marriage) might make a lot of men take responsibility for using contraception.” Agree IHM. Getting legalities enforced in India though is another thing – but as a general principle I agree.

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  3. Seems to me to be more to the point to have social support for unwed mothers — maybe discounts for baby stuff, medicines, clothes etc, a safe place to stay if necessary, and so on. Marrying her to somebody who doesn’t want to marry doesn’t seem a great idea. As a taxpayer I wouldn’t mind supporting a national initiative supporting such an institution.

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  4. Agree with the comments above that the boy should not be held criminally responsible [financially, on the other hand, yes]. They were both minors and they were both extremely irresponsible–definitely agree that proper sex education is the key here.

    As for the three comments–wow. It’s very clear that those people view marriage as the most important thing in a woman’s life. Especially the second one, which seems to state that women have ‘boyfriends’ so they can get valentine’s day gifts. If it wasn’t such a serious topic, I would be laughing–the person clearly has no idea what constitutes a proper relationship.

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  5. The girl was a minor but the boy was also a minor. In my limited legal understanding, statutory rape is a crime only an adult can commit. Am I wrong here?

    If I am, I fail to see why the law should treat this as “rape”.

    It is perfectly normal for a seventeen year old guy and a fifteen year old girl to have sex with each other. It may not be advisable to do so, but there is nothing unnatural or criminal about it.

    Yes, what the boy did was wrong. He shrugged off his responsibility towards his child. But this is not a crime. This cannot be treated at par with sexual assault. This can be corrected by a simple court order telling him and his family to pay for the child’s upbringing. There is no reason to pick this kid up, and put him in the company of hardened criminals and real rapists who have actually forced sex upon women who did not consent to it.

    As to the person who thinks segregation of the sexes and moral policing might be a solution to this, I can only shake my head.

    What else can I do?

    If the sexes were free to mingle, if sex wasn’t so taboo, if teenagers understood the consequences of sex, if people didn’t insist on keeping their daughters “innocent”, if parents didn’t send their sons to fetch water whenever there was a condom advertisement on TV, if, in short, our society wasn’t so horribly prudish, this would probably never have happened. And even if it did happen, there would be effective mechanisms to ensure everyone’s well-being, and we wouldn’t have to rely on marriage and honor killings as “solutions”.

    There are few things in the world more irritating than a chauvinistic idiot, a tortured, unsolicited, self-styled “protector” of the female sex, a dinosaur, vomiting out his worthless “solutions” to problems that he and his holier-than-thou bretheren helped create in the first place. Get back to the gluebag, moral policeman, and let other people live out their lives in peace.

    Education and openness is the solution, not more prudery and smoke-and-mirror phrases meant to hide important truths from children. We don’t need “innocent” girls and “honourable” boys. We need smart, self-aware, savvy kids, who understand what they are doing, acknowledge their mistakes and take responsibility for what they do.

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  6. Looks like we’re all blogging about the same issues at the same time 🙂

    However, there are lots of tangled webs here – not all of which are so cut and dry.

    Let’s start with the responsibility of the minor father. Do we draw a distinction between a father who is an adult and a father who is a minor? Suppose the boy was something like 14 instead of 17? I don’t think it’s fair to make a boy take a heavy responsibility at such a young age for a mistake that he made when still a minor – especially when it’s still perfectly safe to abort.

    Also consider this. Suppose the boy tries to insist on an abortion when there was no danger in doing so, and the girl refused. No one can force a girl to undergo an abortion can they? Is the boy still expected to spend his life supporting a child he didn’t want and tried to avoid when it was still possible? Keep in mind that they’re talking about minors here – not adults.

    Then of course, there are many countries which recognize the legal rights of the father over the unborn child. The consent of the father – no matter how young may well be necessary before a physician consents to perform an abortion. In the US at least, fathers have no such rights…I think that’s the way it should be.

    Of course, the girl herself is also a minor in this case. Which makes it all the more complicated. All I’m saying is that it’s not so simple and clear-cut as it might seem at first glance.

    I’ve always been against using the word “rape” for any form of consensual sex. It makes light of the severity of the crime and is a disservice to the victims of rape.

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    • You actually raise some interesting points. If the boy had asked the girl to put an end to the pregnancy, and she was unwilling to do so for whatsoever reason, he would be within his ethical rights to shrug off the ensuing responsibilities.

      I also agree they are both too young to bear the responsibilities of parenthood. But, under the circumstances, if the girl wants to raise the child herself, she ought to be allowed to. No one should force a woman (however young) to be separated from her child. The parents deserve a public thrashing for asking her to do something like that!

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      • Hmm… it’s tricky but I think that just as women have to take bigger consequences on their bodies for having sex (whether pregnancy, or abortion), men should at least have to take responsibility for having sex and the possibility that the woman gets pregnant and does not want an abortion. Allowing men to insist that women have an abortion… or else shrug of their responsibility is not the way to go. They need to face up to the idea that when they have sex, pregnancy is a possibility they will have to deal with.

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      • Indeed, it is tricky. The reason I am all right with the man shrugging off responsibility is because I am totally for the woman having control over her body. I feel it is up to her to decide whether or not to have the baby, and by the same yardstick, up to the man to decide whether or not to have the baby as well. But considering they are both minors here … sigh!

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        • Also it is too late for abortion now. What do you think should they do if the woman is not able to financially afford to care for the baby, and also work for her own financial independence?

          Fem what would you say to this? – What if the man never wanted the child and the woman doesn’t want an abortion (religious or emotional reasons or afraid of it’s effects on her health, or likes the idea of having a child once she finds she is pregnant) but can’t afford to raise the child?

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      • I’m also for the woman having control over her body. Therefore, she gets to decide whether she wants to keep the baby or not. However, if she decides to keep the baby, the man needs to support it. I know this sounds unfair to the man but actually, in both alternatives – pregnancy or abortion – it is the woman’s body that bears the brunt in addition to having to bear half the costs so in essence she always gets the harder end of the deal. Just because the option of abortion exists , men cannot assume it will be exercised and if not, they can wash their hands of the affair because thanks to biology their body is not implicated.

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      • IHM,

        If a man does not want a child, and the woman does, it is a clear cut decision, isn’t it? I feel most strongly that parenthood should not be forced on anyone. If someone cannot afford to raise a child, they ought not to have one. Yes, it seems harsh but what if you expect the man to pay and he disappears? You cannot make another person do something he does not want to do. Sorry, I feel strongly on this matter.

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        • I am not sure what to think, not agreeing or disagreeing, just wanted to know what you thought.
          Edited to add:
          But then shouldn’t the responsibility for pregnancy belong to both, and the one who doesn’t want it should ensure it does not happen?

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      • @The Bride
        @IHM
        @Fem

        To spin your heads a little more, let me give you a better taste of how complicated the situation really is 🙂

        I agree that it’s impossible for a man to force a woman to have an abortion. Regardless of anything else, it’s the woman’s body, and she has sovereign rights over it. So straight off the bat, one cannot deny that the woman has the choice to become a parent in the early stages of a pregnancy, where is the father has no such choice. Keep in mind, that ethically both the girl and the boy are responsible for what happened.

        And yes – it certainly is much more inconvenient for the girl to opt out of parenthood that is for the man. No question there. So how about introducing some form of compensation, like asking the man to pay the girl a certain amount of money if she’s having an abortion because of his wishes and against hers? This should cause a bit of pain to both of them.

        Let’s say the woman still wishes to go ahead with the pregnancy when it is still safe to abort easily against the wishes of the man, who as the father should have equal rights over choosing to become a parent. In such a situation, I feel the man should be allowed to have a “financial abortion” where he renounces all rights to the child, parenthood etc.

        And finally, here’s the real kicker you guys have to wrap your heads around 🙂 . Once the baby is born, the mother has the right to give the child up for adoption without the consent of either the father or anyone else. But the father himself doesn’t have the same choice. So, again we have an imbalance when the mother, having given birth, is able to abdicate all the responsibilities towards the child by giving it up for adoption, where is the father who should have equal rights cannot make the same decision.

        For me, the last point is the most clear-cut of all the others. Once the baby is born, both the mother and the father should have the right to decide whether or not they want to give the baby up for adoption. If one of the parents doesn’t wish to do so, they can take care of the baby by themselves. And if the choice of giving the baby up for adoption is known in advance, it’s not being unfair to the woman who still had the choice to abort when it was possible. Like I said, we can introduce some form of compensation from the Man and woman if she chooses to have an abortion because of his wishes.

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      • “The parents deserve a public thrashing for asking her to do something like that!”

        Really??
        There was a lot I wanted to say but this renders me speechless.

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      • (Sorry, long comment ahead)

        Bhagvad, I think where you and I differ is how we view abortion. You seem to see it as just one of tools in an arsenal of options available to thwart the birth of an unwanted child. I see it as a serious medical procedure, with physical and emotional consequences that unfortunately only the woman can bear. Well, there may be emotional consequences for the man but in the case of the woman, they are sort of physio-emotional. So I don’t see why men should have the right (though they may have the option to make an offer like you suggested) induce or coerce a woman into having an abortion in a take-it-or-leave-it-manner.

        I see abortion as something like a ‘get out of jail free’ card (for want of a more elegant way of putting it) which one cannot assume will be available, even to the woman. Apart from the length of pregnancy which limits abortion as an option, there might be physical conditions which rule it out.

        As I see it, the natural consequence of sex, especially sex during a certain part of the woman’s menstrual cycle, is pregnancy eventually leading to the birth of a child. That the wonders of science have given us ways to thwart the process is well and good but cannot be assumed to work 100% or be available in every case. The only 100% way to ensure a pregnancy doesn’t happen is to not have sex.

        Just like if I choose to live on the 60th floor of a high-rise in Hong Kong, I must be prepared for the possibility that in the case of an earthquake, my chances of death are high. I cannot assume the firebrigade will risk life and limb to save me even if I pay them a million bucks. I can offer and hope they will. But morally, I have to accept the consequences of my choice.

        Thus, a person having sex needs to be prepared for the possibility of a baby and men need to realize since they are entering into a process in which someone else’s body is affected and will bear the brunt, they will have to bear the consequences of someone else’s choice, regardless of inconvenience to themselves or what they see as better options available.

        One way a man can assume abortion is an option is to make sure (through discussion with the woman and medical checks to know if it’s possible) BEFORE having sex, hopefully with a legal guarantee to back up his claims. Even so, they might not notice the pregnancy in time for an abortion to be feasible. In the case above, however, quite the opposite happened (if the girl is to be believed) where abortion was not raised but rather marriage and standing by her in case of the birth of a child. So in that case, it’s quite simple.

        This option of offering compensation and walking away is as good as leaving the woman with no choice but to put her body through an abortion because the man cannot live up to even half of his responsibility for the natural consequences of his action. For me the only acceptable option is the man supporting the woman at least halfway of the costs she will bear as a result of HER chosen path in dealing with the unwanted pregnancy. Not just the cost of the procedure if it is abortion or the cost of childcare but the physical toll pregnancy and labour takes on a woman, the social stigma on single moms etc. The woman takes the greater risk to her body in sexual relations; the way to balance the scales in her favour for that risk is CHOICE, which can be made real only if she is SUPPORTED IN HER CHOICE by the man should an unwanted pregnancy occur, not money being forced on her or else. To some women a million dollars would not compensate for being forced to have an abortion; that million dollars, however, would compensate in child rearing if she chooses to have a child. Why does the man get to say – I’ll give you the million only if you choose to put your body through something I want?

        Agree that both parents should have a say in adoption. That is, if the mother gives birth to the child and the father is willing to take care of the child, he should have the option to overrule her adopting the child out to a stranger. However, that is if the mother is willing to go through pregnancy and give up the child; the man should not have the right to force a woman to go through pregnancy even if he is willing to take on the child after. He can, however, make an offer of compensation and hope she agrees.

        I have a feeling the law which gives women the only say in adoption are laws of convenience where fathers in these cases are mostly absent. If fathers were to be made to sign a waiver agreeing to an abortion, the onus most likely fall on the woman (who is physically cannot be absent from the child) to obtain this waiver and failing to do so (men might run away, might refuse to sign anything that links them to the child) would close the option of adoption for the woman. But yes, in principle, both parents should have the first rights to care for their child.

        “And if the choice of giving the baby up for adoption is known in advance, it’s not being unfair to the woman who still had the choice to abort when it was possible. “ Not quite sure what you mean here.

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      • J,

        I am not sure what you mean. Are you saying it is all right for a girl’s parents to force her to give up her own child when she does not want to?

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      • Dear Fem,

        So it is alright…

        if a 15 yr old girl isn’t sensible enough to know the dangers of unsafe sex yet indulges in it merely because of a promise of marriage…( assuming this girl believed she would get married within the next year to this boy who is just 17… very high ambitions indeed I must say!)

        It is alright, if she gets pregnant (of course she was too naive to know anything about the consequences of sex) and then suddenly acts matured and DECIDES she wants to keep the baby!!

        It is alright if she has no other financial resources other than her parents (or the father of the child who doesn’t want the child) to raise the baby. It is her ‘mere will to keep the baby’ that is the most important factor in this whole situation.

        And therefore parents should be thrashed publicly for asking their daughter to abort!!

        And perhaps such parents should be thrashed because they or the education system in India, or even our most flourishing ‘entertainment business’ failed to impart the basic idea to a 15 yr old in the 21st century that having unprotected sex not only brings a baby but along with that a life filled with unwanted responsibilities. Or that having a baby at 15 might change her LIFE…her AMBITIONS…her FUTURE…just maybe!!???

        And perhaps such parents should also be thrashed if they are not financially, emotionally sound or prepared to take the burden of a child.

        Parents of course should be thrashed for being parents and for trying to protect and secure her future and for trying to put some sense into her!!

        For a girl to have full control over her body also includes having some sense, like ‘knowing your body’ to begin with. It also includes treating everyone with respect including the PARENTS who brought their kid up with love and care. And most importantly It involves knowing what she can or cannot do for the CHILD she is going to bring to this world.

        How is it sensible to want to give birth to a child when you are yourself dependent for everything in life….!!!!!?????

        How about considering just for once, that a girl is first an individual and for once disregard the sex of the person and say that, every individual MUST learn to OWN up to his/her mistakes and that includes a girl who has acted most irresponsibly at a very young age.

        Shouldn’t a man/woman be first independent, financially secure, emotionally healthy to be able to support a fatherless/motherless child?

        Why depend upon a man’s will or wealth to bring a child into the world?
        When our body is our own, the will to indulge in sex is our own, the pleasure is entirely our own…then why this hue and cry at all for men’s support??

        A man might want the child, or want to be a part of the child’s life IF he was allowed to just do that…but in our society men and women have to tie the KNOT and be socially available for onlookers to give their approval.

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    • I don’t agree with your reasoning.

      If a man does not wish to father or support a child, a condom is all that he needs to use to prevent conception (yes I know that they are not fool-proof).

      I think laws in the US very rightly expect men to pay child support whether or not they wish to do so.

      After all, no one stops a man from wearing condoms or using spermicidal sprays if he is determined not to procreate.

      Once a child has been concieved, a man’s negotiating power decreases considerably.

      Abortion, even in the first trimester, can be highly traumatising and is a medically risky procedure.

      It should only be resorted to when the woman consents, since it is, after all, her body .

      Using abortion as a birth control method is well, wrong on just so many levels.

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      • I get the feeling you think that the man is somehow more responsible for producing the baby than the woman is – which is why you say “he needs to use” instead of “they need to use”.

        I don’t feel that way at all, though you’re right that it’s the woman’s body and she should be free to either keep the baby or abort it. But the woman also needs to take responsibility for the consequences of her actions. While it’s true that the woman undergoes far more physical discomfort that demand during the pregnancy, I feel that it pales into comparison compared to the man having to support a child he does not want and perhaps never wanted to the next 18 – 21 years.

        Abortion in the early stages is so common that I would have grave doubts in labeling it as a health risk. In today’s world, there’s no such thing as a “natural” or an “unnatural” procedure.

        And let’s expand this discussion to include not just abortion, but also taking the “morning-after pill”. What if it’s as easy as taking a pill to read oneself of the zygote and the woman doesn’t wish to do that either? There’s no discomfort, no pain and no risk. Surely if the woman wishes to have the luxury of a baby in such a situation, she should be prepared to take full responsibility for it?

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      • Bhagwad, assuming you’re talking to Bad Indian Woman, but allow me to jump in here:

        You are misinformed about the “morning after pill”. There is discomfort and side effects which is why it was till recently a prescription drug. I’m not saying enough to justify not taking it… but just to clarify that it is not like those calcium chewies or something.

        Agreed both should take responsibility for their actions. And if they both did, and contraception and the morning after pill (which, by the way, is not recommended for frequent use) didn’t work? Like an earthquake in HK – an unlikely occurence but nature has been known to work in strange ways,

        Doe the man then get to dictate to the woman which option he deems most convenient to him – simply because nature granted him the ability to extract himself from the situation without damage to his own body – offer compensation, and walk away?

        ” the woman also needs to take responsibility for the consequences of her actions.” The woman has no choice in facing the consequences of her actions. Biology ensures that. Society also ensures it.

        Nobody is suggesting that the man alone support the child for 18 years. Of course, the woman will also support the child. In fact, the best one can expect in these situations of unwilling fathers is splitting the financial support. That’s the bare minimum.

        “Abortion in the early stages is so common that I would have grave doubts in labeling it as a health risk” And yet, even abortion clinics list risks for first trimester abortions (see here: http://www.nyabortion.com/services_abortion/1st.shtml – go to “possible complications”.) Because it it common does to mean there are no risks. The risks are increased if it is a second abortion. Even a 1% risk of infertility can play on a person’s mind for the rest of their life. I know women who have had abortions who have this thought always at the back of their minds – “will I be able to have children again? Am I in the 1%? Do I tell my future husband about this 1%?” Who compensates them for that mental distress they carry with them for the rest of their lives? Even at 12 weeks, abortion is a violence. I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it if the situation warranted it but I have seen enough sonograms now to know about feotal development at 12 weeks and I will not flinch from the violence of it, even if I had to opt for it. If I had an abortion, I would have to live with having sanctioned that violence for the rest of my life. Let’s not frame abortion as some routine procedure like getting a boil lanced even if we are pro-choice (which I am).

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      • The Bride,

        Point taken. But you’re wrong that there are no consequences for the father. I’m not suggesting that the father be able to dictate abortions. If aborting/not aborting incurs a cost on the woman, it has a significant cost on the man as well – namely 18 years of financial support which I feel far outweighs the inconvenience to the woman.

        So I propose that the man pay the woman a certain amount to compensate her for the abortion IF SHE agrees to it. Otherwise it’s clear that she just wants a child for herself – and she should also bear responsibility for bringing it up. Or if an abortion is too unthinkable, then give it up for adoption. There are plenty of loving parents just waiting to adopt a new born child. The woman can also get compensated by the new parents.

        It’s unfair that at every stage after sex, the woman has a choice whereas the man doesn’t. I’m not talking about keeping/not keeping the baby. That I feel is a woman’s choice alone. But in the care taking department, a man should have the ability to put the child up for adoption – just like the mother – and also pay her compensation for the inconvenience caused. At the very least.

        There can be caveats to this of course as the case law progresses. But there has to be a provision for the man have SOME level of choice regarding legal parenthood – just like the woman does.

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      • I also get a feeling that what you’re implying is this:

        “A man must have sex if – and only if – he is prepared to have a baby on the off chance that a contraceptive fails.”

        Am I misunderstanding you?

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      • Just thought I’d throw this out there:

        According to Wikipedia “Abortion, when performed in the developed world in accordance with local law, is among the safest procedures in medicine.”

        Statistically, Abortion is 12.5 times SAFER than childbirth!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion#Safety.

        So I think it’s fair to say that yes – abortion is a fairly trivial procedure as far as any medical procedure goes.

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      • Bhagwad, the cost the woman (physical, emotional, social stigma etc.) forced to have an abortion she would rather not have (but compelled to because the man will not pay HALF of childcare) could be equated to HALF of 18 years of childcare (ie. equal to 9 years of childcare). If that is the figure that can be agreed upon upfront, then maybe women would consider it, take the money and not have the abortion. Since all the man wants is to give money and be done with it, he should not care if the woman has an abortion or not. I think you are assuming that cost of compelling an unwilling woman to have an abortion will be relatively cheaper than half of childcare – one would have to take it court to decide.

        ““A man must have sex if – and only if – he is prepared to have a baby on the off chance that a contraceptive fails.” Kind of (actually I would apply this to both parties). I would add a caveat “unless he has a prior agreement with the woman that in the event of a pregnancy, she would agree to an abortion, compensation etc.”

        Should a man be able to compel a woman who has had his child give up the child for adoption if she fails to abort if he doesn’t want to spend on childcare? I see your point here – that he has respected her right to her body but now does he need to respect her right to her child? I definitely think he needs to compensate to the cost to her body. But beyond that, I’m not sure. Something to think about.

        As for the Wikipedia entry “among the safest medical procedures” is such a convenient way of framing it. “Among” can include such a wide range. Safer than lancing a boil, do you think? Abortion may be safer than childbirth but when totaling up the risks have they taken into account that each woman is psychologically different and that the psychological costs, the hormonal reaction which might produce psycho-somatic symptoms will vastly differ? I think not.

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  7. Well from the link i can see tht both were aware of possible pregnancy but didn’t use protection due to the boys marriage aassurance! but now that this promise has been broken it does notmean theboy hasno responsibility towards the baby (whether they marry ornot.) he or his family must give financial support to raise it.and this was consensual and is not rape.can’t he be made to take responsibility instead?

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  8. I am curious being ‘new’ to Indian culture-
    What is the future for their child if it is born?
    Will the child also be stigmatized by Indian society because of the parents’ irresponsible behavior?

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    • The boyfriend told her they were going to marry so she didn’t worry about it perhaps, she still wants to have the baby. Or even if she did have some fears, who could she possibly go and share them with? (accept the 17 year old boyfriend)

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      • Would she even have known what it meant when she missed her period?
        It’s not unusual for a woman to miss her period after taking the ‘morning after’ pill, that’s how the ‘morning after’ pill works, it interrupts the cycle- either of conception or the regular monthly period. Minor withdrawal bleeding could occur and be mistaken for a period also..
        Missed or irregular periods are also quite common in young women, especially age 11 to 15 yrs.

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      • That’s alright. But i was thinking it’s your mum with whom you would discuss about ur missed period isn’t it after your husband/ boyfriend? I probably think of it from the aspect of my own self. Even at 28, being married etc., when I miss my period I discuss it to my mom, husband and gynec. It’s common

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      • Gayathri-
        This is an excerpt from the linked article-

        ‘The girl reportedly did not realize that she was pregnant till very late, and even her mother failed to notice any change in her physical appearance. ‘

        This is not too unusual even in the US.
        I doubt this 15yr old young woman knew the average cycle is 28 days. Even most 15 yr old American young women do not know how to count their cycle- Day 1 is the first day of your period, day 28 is the last day before your next period.
        The article goes on to say –
        ‘Both the teenagers study in the same school and they have been in a relationship for the past one year.’
        ‘The two often visited the Borivli national park where they had sex several times in the past few months, said the police.’
        This is not too unusual in teen pregnancies in the US either, it’s usually not that they had unprotected sex once- it’s usually multiple times. A woman is only fertile for an average of 24hrs to 48hr per cycle, the odds of conception in the average teenaged woman are about 20% per cycle.

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    • A lot of families do not educate their girls of 15. When I was that age, the same thing happened with a friend at school, whose parents dragged her to the doctor for an abortion. She did not know how it happened, she did not know WHY it happened, for God’s sake! That’s how innocent some of our girls are. Trust me, too may girls of that age have no idea what a missing period means.

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      • I have been watching with absolute fascination and horror a series on Discovery called ‘I didn’t know I was pregnant’. Grown women have literally gone into labour not realising they are giving birth. Ridiculous as it sounds when you watch the programme, you realise how it can happen – many of these women were physically unhealthy anyway so the pregnancy symptoms didn’t ring a bell, many had irregular periods, had suffered severe stress during the period and attributed everything to that etc.

        Not saying that is the case here… but it is possible to miss your period and not think you’re pregnant.

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  9. Statutory rape based on age is just not right. And too many people use it to their convenience.
    But, the social stigma which the girl is facing is also not right. She had pre-marital sex, or in her case, she decided to have a partner at 15 years… I would say, her wish.
    I would say, the boy should take responsibility of the child ( since she doesn’t want to give up the child), how he does it is what he/his parents should see to.

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  10. Men (or boys in this case) in ‘traditional’ societies will never take full responsibility in sexual relationships until people realise that there are two people in a relationship, and both are equally responsible for their actions.
    I agree with The bride’s first comment, the boy just made some bad choices but he didn’t rape anyone. As for claiming responsibility for the pregnancy, 17 year old is most likely to follow any decision made by his parents regardless of his own choice in the matter.

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  11. The guy marrying the girl out of compulsion is not good for either party.
    But the responsibility of taking care of the baby should lie with both parties.

    I feel these people are just stupid kids, to get pregnant so early in life, before they even really know who they are or figure out what they want out of life. The girl doesn’t have a job, neither does the guy. WHO will take care of the baby? It’s sad that the responsibility will fall on the young grandparents cos their children were too stupid to use a condom.

    Sex education is SO important!

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  12. My heart bleeds in sympathy for the unborn child.
    For no fault, it is starting life with a major handicap.
    If the legal age for concensual sex is 16, the 17 year old boy is legally guilty of rape even if he didn’t actually rape her.
    The law is blind and it is natural that he will be jailed.
    After he completes his sentence he must be made to pay for the child’s maintenance at least if he refuses to marry her.
    Even if he agrees to marry her, the girl must re- confirm her willingness to be married to him.
    I wish she does not agree to marry him.
    She must bring up the child as a single mother with society’s and parent’s support and with money legally and forcefully extracted from this boy.
    Society and her family must not stigmatize this unfortunate girl.
    I hope some social organisation comes forward to help this girl face life in future.
    Regards
    GV

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  13. I am appalled at the comments on the news article.

    1.”When people talk of segregation of sexes, dignified dressing and moral policing. Women organization are in the forefront to oppose it. Again when the woman is suffering they are blaming the boy for it, total hypocrisy.”

    When a woman gets pregnant, there is no need for anybody to suffer. It is wrong to blame the man, as it is wrong to blame the woman. All she needs to do is choice, whether to raise the baby, abort the fetus or give the baby for adoption. If she chooses to raise the baby, the man should be responsible for raising it too.
    ‘Traditional People’ are actually pointing out that it is only the woman who has the responsibility of pregnancy if she engages in consensual sex. And to avoid the shame and the cost, and for the PROTECTION of women, segregation of sexes, dignified dressing and moral policing is a must. On the other hand, women’s organizations are actually saying that if the man is made responsible for the pregnancy and child, then there will be no need for segregation of sexes, dignified dressing and moral policing. Now, how is it hypocrisy? Woman’s organizations are extending the same argument: A choice (of dressing/pregnancy) and responsibility for all parties involved

    2. “There are traditional Indian women who will not agree for pre-marital sex under any circumstances. Then there are Modern Indian woman- who agrees to pre marital sex, goes for live-in relationship, unwed motherhood, sexual experimentation…… off course the modern women, as compared to traditional women always wins the race for boy friends, costly valentine gay gifts, more flowers on birthday…. but every woman must understand that they are taking some risk which traditional women is not taking. You cant expect reward only. Modernity may be rewarding, but it has its own inherent risk……. and just dont blame men if your risky strategy didnt work out. A boy friend, or a sex partner or somone gave you flowers are not bound to marry you. May be, pre marital modernity of women is most repulsive part of marriage sanctity.”

    First off, flowers and valentine cards have nothing to do with sex. One can have sex without them while others can have them without the sex. Casual sex is risky with regards to sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy. (They can be avoided using protection. But that is besides the point). Both engage in casual sex, so the responsibility of the pregnancy should be shared.

    3.Well, the boy’s actions are not exactly honourable. First he gets her pregnant by insisting on unprotected sex, next he tries abortion, and finally starts avoiding her! Are you saying the boy should be allowed to shirk his responsibility? If he got her pregnant, he should support the child along with her, whether he eventually marries her or not. Ideally, of course, he should marry her, but the least he should do is to support the child. Or are you saying that the girl should face the burden on her own

    I think the man is responsible for the baby though I don’t think he is required to marry her. I think if laws make both, the man and woman, responsible for the baby, then the responsibility and blame of the pregnancy will not fall on the woman alone. Men will think twice before even suggesting unprotected sex. All these laws need to be taught in schools.

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  14. Ever since humans started living as families, and technology developed enough to create excess wealth, the question of succession became important. From then on Patriarchy wanted a stricter control on whom females can mate with, so that the man could be assured that his off springs will inherit his wealth. Marriage became divine and it decided the legitimacy and illegitimacy of each and every child.Sex thus became a taboo subject only too be whispered so as to discourage sex outside marriage.Thus adolescents knowledge of sex came only from their friends,cinema or porn books. All this lead to the unfortunate happening described in this post.
    Adolescents/Children should be taught about socio-cultural-emotional-health implications of sex from the School itself. But it is difficult practically because of the severe Social taboo. Kerala Govt’s attempt few years ago on these lines was attacked by clergy of all religion.While taking a class on HIV/AIDS, that too for doctors I found it difficult to talk about sex because of the taboo.
    Condoms, the safest and easiest of contraceptive device should be popularised and de-stigmatised among adolescents so that not only unplanned pregnancy could be prevented but also all kinds of STDs including HIV/AIDS.

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  15. Let me ask a question before answering this,

    Are you saying the boy is responsible? So you mean you do not agree with the Indian irrational legal adage of ‘Age of Consent?’ this boy is a child, and according to Indian law, he isn’t able to take proper decisions. You believe he is responsble? Government doesn’t, Indian Law doesn’t. he even do not have a right to vote yet. I DO NOT AGREE OR BELIEVE IN DRACONIAN LAW OS AGE OF CONSENT, Rather I believe that each and every case should be judged Individually, Mozart became a world class musician and philosopher at the age of 10.

    Also, Are you saying that the girl was a fool, a mentally retarded person? Why were her friends opposing her when she shared the fact with them that she is in sexual relationship? Why didn’t she heard her friends when they advised her to tell to her parents about what is happening?

    Do you think the girl is NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CHILD? She is equally responsible isn’t it? Why is the boy is in jail then and has been termed a RAPIST? Both were kids according to Indian Legal system. So what happened to equality against law?

    Second question,
    How is jailing this guy will help the boy, or the girl or the child? It cannot, the government by terming him a rapist has RUINED THREE LIVES. I hope you understand how taboo is the word ‘RAPIST’ in a/any society and well he is not just termed rapist, he is actually termed a PEDOPHILE. Can you Sense the graveness of this ISSUE?

    Now here is what I want to say as the answer.

    I do not believe the boy raped the girl, he tried to rescue from the responsibilities, I am not with him at this, But Who Am I? I don’t want to be the government, and I don’t want the government to decide morality for Me.

    So what I want is a proper JUSTICE FOR THIS GIRL, THE GUY and the UNBORN CHILD>

    Let them meet freely, without any fear of the government. Let them discuss, let them reach a point of conclusion, agreement. Let them learn to how to take responsibiilities.

    That is what I say when I say that the boy should not be forced, he need to take his responsibility Voluntarily.

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  16. While sex education will definitely educate teens about safe sex and their responsibilities, it is how one deals with teen-pregnancy inspite of the sex education that makes a difference. And unfortunately in how one deals with it, rest of the factors like both parents of the teens, neighbors and society in general comes to play. In this situation, a good way to deal with the “situation” will be educating the boy about his responsibilities, making him and his family understand their responsibility towards the child’s care, the girl’s parents working with the girl to come to a mutual decision on how to raise the child. I am not sure if at 15, the girl can call shots as to whether she can keep the child or not. Is 15 considered a child? But in any case, using force to either give the child for adoption or making her marry the guy seems a wrong thing to do. In any case, it is important for the girl to understand that this thing is not the end of it, and she can still live the life she wanted.

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  17. I agree with Bhagwad in that this is not at all as black-and-white as it may seem at first glance.

    Let me address the question of statutory rape, as it falls closest to my own field.

    Statutory rape is a very tricky thing at the best of times. It is not merely a question of the age of the principals involved. Technically, any vaginal-penile sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, where the woman is below the age of consent and the man over, would be defined as statutory rape (Firebolt: there is no explicit provision against the rape of males, statutory or otherwise, in the Indian Penal Code, although one may seek legal remedies by alleging “Sodomy”, (which is a charge that is notoriously difficult to establish in court, by the way)).

    In practice, a lot of questions must be answered if the male is actually to be sentenced. When the age of the “victim” is very close to that of the defendant (as it is in this case), consent does become a factor and age becomes less of one. Higher courts, especially, seek to align themselves with the spirit of the law (which is to protect minors from exploitation), instead of the letter (which is a bit arbitrary), and although I cannot seem to remember the exact citations off the cuff, a quick google search would most probably turn up the various court precedents of such cases immediately fizzling out as a result of exonerating testimony from the girl’s parents. The reason is that most parents do not really want to press charges and expose their daughter to needless humiliation, when it is clear that she really did consent to whatever transpired. Even if they do want to press charges, judges will often settle for a relatively minor slap on the wrist if they feel that the girl was mature enough to understand the consequences, or that the boy was young enough not to.

    Frankly, I’d be astonished if these lovebirds don’t end up married in the future. Call me cynical, but believe me, this kind of “out-of-court settlement” is precisely what happens in the vast majority of such cases and is very probably what will happen here. Nobody wants to go to jail, nobody wants to live with the horrible stigma that being a single mother in India entails and the protagonists will very likely choose marriage as the lesser evil, abhorrent as it may be to them. More precisely, their parents will choose it for them, and they will obey.

    From a personal perspective, I find the responses to the incident far more disturbing than the “incident” itself. The psyche of the average Indian male seems, unfortunately, to be stuck hopelessly in the middle ages.
    While I understand that this was not really a good thing to happen, and that fifteen is probably far too young to be pregnant, it is not in my view such a horrific calamity as to require an immediate regression to Medieval cultural norms.

    Let us focus on educating the youth, rather than spending our time pining for a return to the good old days of slavery, cruelty, and cowed female subjugation.

    Back after a long hiatus, IHM. It’s good to be here again. 🙂

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