“Aged just 14, the life of this young girl, after being a victim of repeated and sustained sexual violence, was cut short as she was forced into becoming a mother before her own body was mature enough to do so. Sadly in Paraguay, like in many countries, this is not uncommon. In Paraguay 20% of all pregnancies occur among adolescent girls – and those aged 10-14 years old are five times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than women over the age of 18. Most of these pregnancies are the result of sexual violence.These shocking statistics are a clear indication that much more must be done to protect girls from sexual violence.
We must change attitudes that view girls as sexual objects and discriminate against them.
“Girls and boys must be provided with sexuality education in school that teaches them about their bodies and having respectful relationships, and enables them to understand their rights, so that they can make informed choices about their lives. This kind of informed and respectful education needs to be reinforced at home rather than remain tabooed, as the taboos and a lack of information is something that contributes to sexual violence. Girls aren’t taught how to protect themselves or to recognise abuse when they encounter it. Many in society just see this behaviour as normal. We must change attitudes that view girls as sexual objects and discriminate against them."
Violence must not be tolerated
“Education, not ignorance, is what is needed – the state needs to invest money into this, and all members of society need to embrace education over the ignorance and misinformation that taboos generate. Most of all, violence in all its forms, especially sexual violence against girls, must never be tolerated whether in the home, at school, or on the street.
“In South America we have been saying #NiUnaMenos more loudly and more often over recent years, and we will reiterate it until we see the day that the change we are calling for comes.”