When girls are not any longer girls: The abuse of under-age girls in Latin and Central America


When girls are not any longer girls: The abuse of under-age girls in Latin and Central America


© picture-alliance/dpa/M. Gambarini

In Latin and Central America, there are many cases of young girls who have been raped continuously, since not everyone has respects the rights of minors.
According to reports from the United Nations[1] the figures presented in December 2015 indicate that more than six million children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean suffer sexual abuse each year.


© picture-alliance/dpa

In Nicaragua at the present time 2,600 cases of 13 year old girls, who are according to the Institute of Legal Medicine allegations of sexual violence, are pending. As far as the Nicaraguan Coordinator of Organizations Working with Children (Codeni) is concerned, the fact that these girls are minors and have been raped is very alarming indeed. The figure of 2,600 is based on the examination of 5,000 women checked for signs of sexual abuse in Managua, Nicaragua (IML figures from November 21, 2015) [2].

Although things are changing slowly, society is still largely ruled by machismo.

It is very sad to know that there are men who do not respect a minor, since there are many girls who suffer sexual harassment, and who are raped often by family members or strangers. It is very sad to know that they take away the innocence of a girl who is not ready to be a woman. Where there is no respect, there is no human heart. Where are the true rights and the protection of children?

In Nicaragua, 49% of the minors have reported experiencing sexual abuse when they were under 15 years of age, while in Ecuador sexual abuse for those under 14 years has increased by 74% (e.g. “La Prensa”, Tegucigalpa/Honduras, “Piden permitir aborto a niñas violadas en América Latina”, 20.10.2015) [3].

There is also danger in form of clandestine abortion or sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS or syphilis. Not mention becoming pregnant after a rape.


© picture-alliance/dpa

The question is alsohow much psychological damage does rape cause to a minor because neither her mind nor her body is ready to be a mother. Recently, a report was published about an 11-year-old girl in Paraguay who gave birth to a child after having been raped (when her state became evident, it was too late for an abortion). She was 1,39 m tall and weighed (before pregnancy) 34 kg! (Listin Diario, Santo Domingo/Dominican Republic, Niña paraguaya de 11 años violada por padrastro dio a luz una beba, 11.12.2015) [4]. This girl who was raped by her stepfather gave birth to a baby on November 12, 2015.

What would happen if these girls got diseases like AIDS? Could they lead normal lives under these circumstances, after so much trauma?

These girls deserve a better future, and violations of children should be a subject of rigorous criminal prosecutions in all of Latin America. The number of abuse of under-aged persons is so high there should be a public outcry: Don’t damage the future of girls and young women!

Author: Carmen Aguilera García

Editor: Marjory Linardy


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