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Rape pregnant teen on suicide watch

File Photo.
Written by Cynthia Maseko

A 17 year-old teenager has been on suicide watch after attempting to abort her 16-week pregnancy – believe to be the result of rape.

Delisile Sithole* of Ermelo in Mpumalanga was rushed to a community clinic after a botched abortion. A health worker who attended to the case has advised the pregnant teen’s aunt to keep a close watch over her.

Sithole claims to have been sexually abused. After falling pregnant she asked her mother for help with a termination – but her mother refused. It is understood that the teenager then tried to abort her pregnancy by taking some kind of home remedy, but did not inform her family. When that attempt failed, she then went to see a sangoma who turned her away because at that stage the girl was already in a bad way.

Attempt to terminate

“I noticed that she suddenly became sick, and when I asked what wrong she said it was just pregnancy sickness. I worried about her and decided to take her to Ermelo town clinic. That is where I was told that she had tried to end her pregnancy. The health worker advised me to watch her at all time now,” said Delisile’s aunt, Nokuthula Nkosi.

Delisile said: “This is not a fair situation. No one knows what I am going through, and I don’t understand how can my mother expect me to go ahead with the pregnancy, when she knows it was forced on my body. I never asked to be sexually abused and end up being pregnant.”

South Africa’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy ACT, passed in 1997, provides abortion on demand for a variety cases. Any woman of any age can have an abortion, if she is less than 13weeks pregnant.


Delisile’s mother said she was aware of her daughter having been violated by a relative, but had refused to help her have an abortion because of religious reasons.

“Abortion is a sin because we are taking an innocent life,” the mother said, adding that she also felt guilty because she could see how stressed her daughter was. She said she regretted her actions, and wish she had have sought counselling.

Belinda Setshogelo if the Treatment Action Campaign in Mpumalanga said “Poverty and a lack of awareness of their rights were among the main reasons why families failed to report rape cases. You find the rape victim’s families being overpowered by the rapist or his family because they are poor. This family can still open a case against Delisile’s abuser.”

About the author

Cynthia Maseko

Cynthia Maseko joined OurHealth in 2013 as a citizen journalist working in Mpumalanga. She is passionate about women’s health issues and joined Treatment Action Campaign branch as a volunteer after completing her matric. As an activist she has been involved with Equal Treatment, Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and also with Marie Stopes Clinic’s project Blue Star dealing with the promotion of safe abortions and HIV education.