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Girls & Women

Two Uncles Convicted for Raping Their 10-Year-Old Niece in India

It was a story that shocked the world.

A 10-year-old girl in India was repeatedly raped by her two uncles over a seven-month periodand later gave birth without realising what was happening to her.

It provided yet another insight into the brutal reality of sexual violence that can happen in India.

But on Tuesday, the two brothers were convicted, and both will be sentenced on Thursday.

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It was only discovered the young girl was pregnant after she was taken to hospital complaining of a stomach ache - which she thought was just a big stone in her stomach.

She was denied a late-term abortion on health grounds, and the baby was born prematurely by Caesarean section in August. Officials have said it’s the first ever case of a girl so young giving birth.

India allows abortions up to 20 weeks into pregnancy. In this instance the girl was 30 weeks pregnant when the Supreme Court deemed an abortion to be “too risky”.

The baby has since been given up for adoption.

The trial took less than a month to go through a fast-track court — a system designed to increase the speed that justice is delivered in rape cases, launched following the tragic death of a woman who was gang-raped on a Delhi bus in a case that drew global attention to the scale of gender violence in India.

But securing rape convictions in the country is rarely so simple.

In September, a Bollywood filmmaker was acquitted in Delhi’s High Court of raping a Columbia University graduate student — less than a year after he was sentenced to seven years in jail for the crime. After throwing out the conviction, the judge said that he should be given the “benefit of the doubt” and that women who give a “feeble no” may actually mean “yes”.

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Last year, just one in four rape cases in India concluded with a conviction. It’s a crisis that affects tens of thousands of women, with a rape occurring every 22 minutes in the country — but sadly, this crisis affects children too.

India has the largest number of sexually-abused children in the world. In India, a child under 16 years old is raped every 155 minutes, and in 2015 there were 10,854 cases of child rape, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. In half of all cases the abuser was known to the victim.

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