One year ago, my neighbour saw Elise, her 12-year-old daughter living with a speech impediment, off to boarding school. Boarding school was supposed to be safe for her. Nothing was supposed to go wrong.

When Elise returned home a few months later for the holidays, we noticed something had changed in her. The girl who used to be playful and was friends with everyone kept to herself. The change in demeanour was one thing, but she also didn’t look well. Even though Elise said nothing, her mum suspected something went wrong while in school. 

Out of concern, she took Elise to the family hospital for a series of tests. It was supposed to be routine—to confirm nothing was wrong. But the doctor hit her with the worst news she didn’t imagine was possible: Elise was three weeks pregnant.

Following this revelation, the other details started to unravel. While Elise was in school, she was at the mercy of her sports teacher — we’ll call him Mr. X — who abused his position to molest her sexually. None of Elise’s peers or her teachers knew about this. Mr. X made sure of that. 

Elise’s heartbroken mother did the next best thing and got Mr. X arrested. But that man is free now because there wasn’t enough evidence to take the case to court.

With nothing else to do, Elise’s mum is torn between letting her adolescent daughter terminate her pregnancy, but there are restrictions on abortion services. Yet, if Elise keeps the pregnancy to term, her health is at serious risk. She’s 12 years old, after all. 

Should Elise be given a chance to live as a child without imposing motherhood on her or should she face the consequences of Mr X’s actions?

Stand up for survivors: Advocate for access to safe abortion services.




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