Kenya: Girl Gives Baby Away Hoping to Be Accepted By Family

Nation reporter Mohamed Ahmed interviews a 16-year-old girl at the Coast General Hospital on March 6, 2019. The girl who has given birth to a baby boy after being defiled and impregnated by her stepfather, says Luhya tradition does not allow her to keep the baby.

When Mary, 16, (not her real name) delivered her baby at Coast General Hospital in Mombasa, this week, she breathed a sigh a relief.

Her reprieve did not come from the birth of the baby boy, but that she would finally be accepted back to her family in Vihiga County.

Mary was sent away from home in August last year after revealing that she had been impregnated by her stepfather.

According to the Luhya traditions, incest is a taboo and culprits are banished. The Class Six pupil was defiled on April 10, 2018.

"My (step) father turned on me as he was taking me to my grandmother's home at around 11pm. He threatened to kill me if I revealed to anyone that he had defiled me," said Mary.

TRAVELLED

The girl revealed that her mother had travelled when the incident happened. Upon her mother's return, Mary, who was terrified, decided to relocate to a neighbour's house.

"After a week, a close friend to my mother's questioned why I slept at a neighbour's house. I was arrested and taken to Luanda Police Station in August where I was locked up for three days," she said.

"It is at the station where I decided to reveal that my stepfather had defiled and impregnated me," she said.

BUS FARE

Mary was then sent to Mombasa to stay with her aunt, who paid her bus fare, after being banished by her grandmother. Her stepfather had then fled to Nairobi.

This week, Mary was sent to Coast General Hospital where she was delivered of a bouncing baby boy, but she does not want to raise him.

"I cannot take the baby, I am not allowed to be with him, it is an abomination according to (Luhya) traditions. I want to go back to school," she told the Nation.

Her aunt who hails from Changamwe Constituency, said Mary's mother had suggested that her daughter procures an abortion.

"Being a Christian, I refused and told her that I would not allow the girl procure an abortion," she said.

TRADITION

Asked if she would take the baby, she said that (Luhya) tradition does not allow her to do so.

"I will have no time to raise the baby, Mary is supposed to go back to school. I do not want to see the baby suffer in my hands," she added.

She insisted that, according to Luhya tradition, the baby would die if he is brought up by a family member.

The two have now started the process of sending the baby to a children's home for adoption.

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