In an interview with the Senegalese women lawyers’ association, the girl, who has just turned 11, was asked whether she was pleased that the rapist – her neighbour – was in police custody. “No,” she answered. “I want him to be killed because he has stopped me from going to school.”
The girl gave birth in the seventh month of her pregnancy, on 21 February. The babies spent a week in an incubator and are understood to be in good health. “I did not realise I was pregnant. My mother saw my body changing and because I was vomiting she took me to the hospital. In the last few months my head ached and I could hardly stand up.”
Asked what she remembered about the birth she said: “Nothing. I woke up and I realised I was not pregnant any more, and I saw the twins. The twins are fine, but they want a lot of breastfeeding, and I do not have enough milk. My mother buys milk at the pharmacy. We are able to buy it, thanks to donations from generous people and a pharmacist who is being very kind,” she said.
The girl’s mother, who sells vegetables at the market, said she had approached a female community leader for advice after doctors confirmed the pregnancy. Her moves to approach the state prosecutor were supported by legal volunteers. The rapist was swiftly taken into police custody, where he awaits trial.
“Towards the end of the pregnancy she could not get up on her own at night and often panicked. Her father, from whom I am divorced, blames me. He says I have not brought her up properly, that’s why it happened. When I told him on the phone that the twins had been born he said, ‘I hear what you say’. Since then he has neither phoned nor come to see us.”
She asked the lawyers’ association to support the girl financially to allow her to continue her education. However, she said her daughter would need to change schools to avoid being bullied by other pupils.
Describing the rape, the 11-year-old said: “My mother had gone to work. There was no one around in my place. I was playing with my friends and I suddenly wanted to go to the toilet. He found me in the toilet and closed the door.”
She said he threatened to kill her if she told anyone of her ordeal. “Afterwards, I had pain at the bottom of my stomach. I could not even walk properly but I forced myself to hold myself well as I was afraid he would kill me.”
She added that the man raped her a second time in the same toilet. “This time he said he would kill not only me but my mother if I told anyone.”