A girl of 12 is about to become Britain's youngest Mum. She got pregnant aged just 11 years old and is due her baby next month.
She got pregnant after having sex at an all night party with a 15 year old boy. Unsurprisingly she was drunk at the time. The boy has been charged with statutory rape.
This girl comes from a home where her Mother is raising 6 kids (with 3 different fathers) as a single parent, the youngest being only 8 months old. The Mother is a well known drug dealer and user in the area and throws Heroin parties. The house they live in has been described as "squalid" by visitors with needles and drugs lying around. She has vowed to stand by her daughter and help to raise the new baby. The girl meanwhile has left school with no intention of going back.
There are serious questions that need to be asked about this whole sorry mess.
The first one that springs to mind is why is this sorry excuse for a Mother still being allowed to raise kids anyway? A known drug dealer and user. A woman who lets her 11 year old attend all night parties. A woman who already has one child in care. A woman who believes her 11 year old is mature enough to handle to responsibilities of Motherhood.
How can anyone believe that an 11 year old girl (and let's not get confused here...she is just a girl whether she has periods or not) can possibly be mature enough to cope with what is about to happen to her? What sort of life will this new baby have with a Mother who is barely old enough to look after herself and a Gran who thinks she's an extra in Trainspotting?
It beggars belief.
Obviously accidents can happen. Sometimes even the most sensible of young girls can find themselves in the situation of being pregnant at a young age. This girl though is not one of the sensible few who get caught. She was young and naive enough to believe she couldn't get pregnant the first time she did it. She has shown a basic lack of sex education and understanding of her own body. Having gone through labour twice and therefore knowing full well exactly what happens to you both emotionally and physically, I can only wonder at how frightening and confusing the whole experience would be for a 12 year old.
I'm not against teenage mum's one little bit. I know plenty of girls who had babies in their teens and are fantastic mothers...my sister included...but this girl is not even a teenager and there is a big difference in maturity between a 17 year old and an 11 year old girl. It's also a big consideration that all the girls I know who had babies early all had good families behind them and parents who were able to guide them down the right path. I fear this girl does not have that luxury. As the Mum of a 9 year old who is currently getting sex education at school I make sure I sit and discuss it with her...it still makes me feel a bit sad that I need to be doing it with her at such a young age but better that and she knows the facts than ends up in a similar situation.
I am also against the fact that the boy is being charged with an offence where the sex is consensual. I mean the girl has admitted she was a willing partner and technically the boy in question is still a child himself. He was also drunk. Rape implies that she was an unwilling partner and was forced into having sex. If this boy is found guilty he will have a criminal record and no doubt be a name on a sex offenders register for life. Seems a bit harsh for me while she walks away from the mess to play happy families and make money from selling her story and pictures of her new baby when it arrives. Both are at fault...however it is a bizarre law that says that a girl under 16 cannot be prosecuted for having under age sex but a boy can.
For the sake of the wee baby that is about to enter this circus I hope social services see sense and take the decision to place him or her into the care of a loving family who will be able to give it what it needs. I hope they do the same for the 12 year old and her brothers and sisters.