Guatemala has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Latin America, a spiral that leads girls even faster down the road to poverty and dependence, distancing them from the prospect of studying and finding dignified work. The figures are alarming because they tell of girls forced to grow up in a hurry and because the births are very often the result of violence. Indeed the data presented by the government refer to more than 5,000 pregnancies in 2014 in girls under 14: four out of five of their sexual aggressors were family members. The consequences are dramatic, including the 66,000 abortions calculated to be carried out each year in this country. The maternal and reproductive health services are expensive and often inaccessible to those living in the interior regions of Guatemala. The high rate of sexual violence against women and girls is often linked to the low social level of the victims, particularly of the indigenous women of Maya origin, in a patriarchal and macho society such as that ofGuatemala appears to be. According to the United Nations two women are murdered there every day.
St. Peter’s Square
Jan. 21, 2018
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