By Mónica Martínez
Lima, Sep 29 (EFE).- So far this year, nearly 800 Peruvians girls aged 14 or younger who have been the victims of sexual violence have given birth.
Although Peru has regulations to provide comprehensive sex education in schools and emergency oral contraception in cases of rape, in practice many adolescents do not have access to information and few victims of abuse receive the so-called “morning after” pill.
Women’s and sexual rights advocates are calling on the Peruvian government to do more to protect the country’s girls by providing better access to healthcare treatments and contraception.
So far in 2021, “791 girls under 14 years of age were practically forced to continue with a pregnancy and it is a reality that affects us,” Eleana Rodriguez, the coordinator of the sexual rights and citizenship in health program of the Flora Tristan Women’s Center, told Efe.
“It becomes a public health problem that the Peruvian state itself has to take responsibility for, to guarantee the right to choose, the right to live a healthy sexuality. The health and education sectors have a responsibility,” she added.
Of the 791 girls who gave birth this year as a result of rape, five were under the age of 10, according to the Ministry of Health.
In 2020, a total of 47,398 births were to girls between the ages of 15 and 19, while from January to September this year there have been 32,226 births to adolescents of the same age.
In 67 % of those births, the fathers were adults between 18 and 58 years of age, according to official figures.
“It has never been possible to stop or lower teenage pregnancy, it has always been on the rise,” Rodriguez lamented, adding that “it has been increasing during the pandemic.”