/  07.20.2022

As the world began to dissect the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, reports surfaced that a child had been sexually assaulted, and controversy continues to compound her medical trauma. The 10-year-old victim crossed state lines earlier this month to Indiana and received an abortion after being denied the procedure in her home state of Ohio. Since then, Gerson Fuentes, a 27-year-old man, has been taken into custody and charged with felony rape of a minor under age 13.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, a police investigator, Detective Jeffrey Huhn, testified that Fuentes confessed to raping the child “at least” twice at the subsequent Franklin County, Ohio municipal court arraignment. “Columbus police were made aware of the girl’s pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services that was made by her mother … DNA from the clinic in Indianapolis is being tested against samples from Fuentes, as well as the child’s siblings, to confirm contribution to the aborted fetus,” the publication wrote. Also, Fuentes’ bond was set at two million dollars.

As indexed by Agility PR Solutions’ data, The Wall Street Journal, America’s top newspaper in paid circulation, published the headline: “An Abortion Story Too Good to Confirm.” Accordingly, many people are currently theorizing online and elsewhere whether or not it is possible for someone so young to become a mother. For those unclear, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) defines pregnancy as “the term used to describe the period in which a fetus develops inside a woman’s womb or uterus. Pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks or just over 9 months, as measured from the last menstrual period to delivery.”

Claim: Can a 10-year-old girl get pregnant?

Rating: True.

Academically, menstruation is defined as a “cyclical discharging of blood, secretions, and tissue debris from the uterus that recurs in nonpregnant breeding-age primate females at approximately monthly intervals and that is considered to represent a readjustment of the uterus to the nonpregnant state following proliferative changes accompanying the preceding ovulation,” by Merriam Webster. When concerning humans, the publishing company’s definition applies to individuals assigned to the female gender at birth. This information does not negate that nonbinary persons — those who do not self-identify exclusively as a woman or man — are capable of experiencing menstruation as well as transgender men. Further, the cisgender-intended analysis does not speak for the validity of any queer identities, namely: transgender women.

Plainly, menstruation, commonly known as a period, is a monthly cycle when women and girls’ uteri shed their lining and experience vaginal discharge and bleeding. One of menses’ biological purposes is to help women’s and girls’ bodies healthily prepare for pregnancy. The process reoccurs approximately every 28 days and commonly begins between ages “10 and 16,” the Merck Manuals’ recent “Puberty in Girls” section documented. The periodical also verified that puberty “tends to start earlier in Black [girls] and [Latinas] than in Asians and whites who are not also [Latina].”

Even so, an abundance of misinformation exists across the internet. The parts of a woman’s body most affected during menstruation are her vagina, cervix, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. In chronological order, the functions of women’s internal reproductive organs are medically logged by Cleveland Clinic’s “Female Reproductive System” page: “The vagina is a canal that joins the cervix [the lowest part of the uterus] … The uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ that is the home to a developing fetus … The ovaries are small, oval-shaped glands … on either side of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs … [The fallopian tubes] are narrow tubes that are attached to the upper part of the uterus and serve as pathways for the ova (egg cells) to travel from the ovaries to the uterus…”

In a digital study facilitated by Planned Parenthood, the sexual health care nonprofit organization confirmed, “Your menstrual cycle and period are controlled by hormones like estrogen and progesterone…” Those hormones affect the ovaries’ ability to produce, store, and release eggs. During ovulation, an egg is released, or sometimes two and upward. Again, forms of female self-cleansing can begin in small children. For educational purposes, the Nemours Kid’s Health website outlines, “The vagina’s muscular walls are lined with mucous membranes, which keep it protected and moist. The vagina [when explaining its function medically] serves three purposes:

  1. It’s where the penis is inserted during sexual intercourse.
  2. It’s the pathway (the birth canal) through which a baby leaves a woman’s body during childbirth.
  3. It’s the route through which menstrual blood leaves the body during periods.”

Female children learning about menstruation may become overwhelmed by their first experiences. Global Citizen’s essay “Doctors Acknowledge Period Pain as Painful as a Heart Attack” cites, “…at least 20% of women and girls experience dysmenorrhea painful enough to disrupt their daily life…” Minors might be confused by the realities of pregnancy. No matter a woman or girl’s age, once she begins to menstruate, she can become pregnant upon a male ejaculating semen into her vagina and a single sperm traveling into her fallopian tube and fertilizing an egg, or in more rare cases, multiple eggs. “Once fertilization takes place, this newly fertilized cell is called a zygote … the zygote will move down the fallopian tube and into the uterus,” printed Healthline.

So, a girl as young as ten can become pregnant. The National Cancer Institute verified that menstruation occurs from “puberty until menopause.” Likewise, sexual intercourse and all its indications must be consensual to be legal. The World Population Review corroborated that in America, “…about 43.6% of women and 24.8% of men experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS).”

Moreover, a child cannot offer an adult consent. If you are not a minor and the legality of these terms perplexes you, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its “Fast Facts: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse” section, which registered, “Child sexual abuse refers to the involvement of a child (person less than 18 years old) in sexual activity that violates the laws or social taboos of society and that he/she:

  • does not fully comprehend
  • does not consent to or is unable to give informed consent to, or
  • is not developmentally prepared for and cannot give consent to”

The 10-year-old Ohio-based victim is creating dialogue concerning the intersections and consequences of an unwanted pregnancy. Additionally, the concept of consent and child sexual abuse does not stop here. An adult engaging in nonconsensual pornography or photography is an illegal and punishable offense. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) statistics indicate, “Abusers can manipulate victims to stay quiet about the sexual abuse using a number of different tactics.” RAINN’s current findings substantiate that an average of 93 percent of sexually abused children knew their attacker.

The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence conceded our nation’s “history of rape … is a history of racism and sexism intertwined. Rape was an important tool in white colonists’ violent efforts to repress Native nations [and enslaved Black people].” According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, girls and women of color are the most likely to become targets.

The nonprofit also corresponded, “A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness, and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults and can become suicidal.” Sex is not ensuing for the sole purpose of procreation. Minors may identify their sexual orientation early in life — bisexual women and girls are “more than twice as likely to become victims of rape than straight women,” as per LegalJobs’ 2022’s “Sexual Assault Statistics” account. Without lawful autonomy, girls’ and women’s sexual health care is demographically at a disadvantage in the United States.


























































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