Belfast Telegraph

'How can we be up in arms about child brides in foreign countries yet turn a blind eye to this?'

By Suzanne Breen

I regard myself as a really liberal mother.

By no stretch of the imagination am I a reactionary old fuddy-duddy who will want to lock up her daughters to ensure they don't have sex until they meet 'The One' and march down the aisle with him.

I hope they'll have heaps of fun in their young adult lives, and I'll give them whatever advice and assistance I can to ensure they're well protected against unwanted pregnancies.

But I'm sorry, there are limits. If aged 11, my daughter goes to a nurse or doctor and asks for contraception to enable her statutory rape, then I don't want it facilitated behind my back. I want it stopped.

I don't want any so-called professional enabling that sick scenario to continue by giving my little girl a jab in the arm and leaving her free to be violated.

I want to be told about it and I want her rapist arrested and brought before the courts. Because an 11-year-old doesn't have a consensual sexual relationship. An 11-year-old is abused. We are not talking here about a teenager a few months off her 16th birthday. We're talking about a child five years below the age of consent.

Aged 11, my daughter won't even be at big school. She'll be in P7. She'll still need me or her daddy to walk her to school every morning. She'll still be waltzing around the room in a princess dress. She'll still be badgering us to take her to Disney World.

She'll paint her own nails and she'll put on make-up badly in spite of my disapproval. That should be the extent of her journey into adulthood. If she is having sex, it will be because something is very wrong and rotten in her young life.

And the answer won't be to stick rods in her arm to stop her producing eggs. It will be to get to the bottom of what's going on and to stamp it out.

Giving her an implant is not "protecting" her. It's leaving her imprisoned in a exploitative situation.

If we agree to 11, 12 and 13-year-olds being injected and told to get on with it, we're making a mockery out of the age of consent. It would be more honest to just abandon it altogether.

How can we be up in arms about child brides in foreign countries but turn a blind eye to this?

A jab may prevent my daughter getting pregnant but it won't stop her getting Aids or other sexual diseases. And injecting a cocktail of chemicals into a young female body is highly questionable.

This isn't a one-off like the morning after pill. It's hooking her up to hormones which can carry serious health risks in future.

If my under-16 daughter nicks a lipstick from Boots, she'll be brought home by police and I'll be expected to set her straight, but if someone is having illegal sex with her, nobody will even bother to tell me. There's something massively wrong with that.

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