Teen girl ill after eating raw animal heart

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Girls dance in a Drammen square during Wedesday's initiation ceremony.
17:21 CEST+02:00
A 16-year-old girl is recovering in hospital from a life-threatening infection after she was forced to eat a raw animal heart during an initiation ceremony for a high school sorority in south-eastern Norway.

The girl’s parents were among a number of shocked witnesses at Bragernes Square in Drammen last Wednesday, as a group of girls sought to prove their suitability for the Gevjon sorority.

Lured by the promise of exclusive parties, some 12 teenagers ate raw fish and animal hearts, drank water spiked with chewing tobacco, and slapped each other in the face in the middle of the city square, newspaper Drammens Tidende reports.

A few hours after the humiliating ritual, the 16-year-old girl suffered an allergic reaction to the raw food and was taken by ambulance to hospital.

While she recovered quickly and was soon sent home, on Friday she had a relapse and was kept in quarantine at the hospital over the weekend, her father told the newspaper.

By Sunday evening, her condition had deteriorated still further, with doctors fearing the girl had been infected with the life-threatening E. coli bacteria.

On Monday morning, however, staff at the hospital said her life was no longer considered to be in danger.

The girl’s father, who requested not to be named in order to protect his daughter’s identity, said he was appalled that the sorority's hazing ceremonies had been allowed to spiral so far out of control.

“The police know what’s happening, and with that in mind I’m strongly critical of them allowing the event,” he told Drammens Tidende.

Ellen Kathrine Winstrup, principal of the Drammen Videregående Skole, said she was powerless to stop initiation rites taking place away from the school and outside of school hours.

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She added, however, that she strongly disapproved of the demeaning rituals, which she said were damaging the school’s reputation.

“Until recent years the girls would get involved in some tomfoolery such as dressing up, having entertainment in the schoolyard, and occasionally some girl made a fool of herself, but it was not dangerous,” said Winstrup.

“In recent years we have seen the introduction of aspects we absolutely do not like,” she added.

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