Girl mothers are associated with patriarchal ancestral patterns deeply rooted in Mesoamerican traditions. Customs that reproduce in conditions of extreme poverty, gender inequality and sexual violence; These are girls who are excluded from opportunities, who do not have access to higher levels of education and knowledge of their rights and freedoms. Instead of enjoying their second decade of life, more than 80 percent of girl mothers engage in unpaid care work (for children and family members) and stop their social mobility, only 13.4 percent continue to study and 14 .7 percent stated that her first sexual relationship was persuasion, coercion or rape.
I summarize two stories taken from interviews in the field and recent journalistic notes that are part of a new publication made with the National Council for the Advancement of Education (Conafe): Child marriages and alliancesSegob/Conapo/SEP/Conafe/Unfpa September 2022
The case of Margarita, a 12-year-old girl who lives in the municipality of Sochistlauaca, in the region of Costa Chica, Guerrero. According to her aunt, the girl was the victim of repeated sexual abuse by her father. The aunt tells that one day she and a friend went to visit her cousin’s family; In greeting he asked where his little niece was? The girl had to go out to greet her aunt. Later, “my friend asked the girl’s mother and grandmother why the little girl was pregnant?”, to which the grandmother replied, “she wanted to,” implying that she was in love with the father. “He took it as if the girl had chosen to be abused by the father!” said the friend, who recommended they make the complaint. At first they refused, but he convinced them by pointing out that if they didn’t, they could go to jail, the mother could be considered an accessory to the rape. They decided to denounce the father, who is now in prison. Margarita was first treated at Casa-ame de Acapulco and then wanted to return to her family. Now she is about to deliver the baby and they are looking for a hospital where she can receive quality and safe care (case presented by María de los Ángeles Santiago, from the State Group for the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy, Guerrero).
Another is the story of Carmen, a nine-year-old Me’faa girl who lives in a town in the Guerrero Mountains. Her grandparents raised her because her mother was a victim of femicide and her father abandoned her. According to unofficial versions, the girl was raped by his cousin. After they found out, the family filed a criminal complaint for the crime of rape and requested termination of the pregnancy in accordance with Article 159 of the Criminal Code. After a few weeks, the Ministry of Public Law gave express permission. Faced with an advanced pregnancy and terrified by so many traumatic events, she went with her aunt to the municipal hospital. The place did not have the infrastructure or staff specialized in safe abortion, so the staff referred them to the Raymundo Abarca Alarcón Hospital, in Chilpancingo, where the procedure was refused and they tried to convince her to continue with the pregnancy. As the case spread in the media, the hospital authorities had to reconsider the refusal. Three days later, at the Guerrerense Mother and Child Hospital, Carmen was able to miscarry. As a follow-up, in an inter-agency meeting, the General Prosecutor’s Office for the Protection of Minors and the Family, as well as the DIF, promised to provide food, transportation costs and custody supervision of the nine-year-old girl. Indigenous Affairs approved a commitment to provide a companion and legal advice, while the Women’s Secretariat provided social assistance to Carmen and her family (case taken from the broken chair (2/23/22).
A comprehensive strategy for women’s justice and well-being is currently being developed in the mountains of Guerrero and Costa Chica, led by Governor Evelyn Salgado Pineda. From Inmujeres, the State Population Council, Conavim, the education and health sector, community action is coordinated with municipal authorities to ensure access to goods and services, to ensure respect and integrity for girls and women, to prevent and address violence against them, eradicate labor unions and child motherhood, and strengthen sexuality education and access to sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion. On the occasion of the World Day for the Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy in the week of September 26, the State groups for the prevention of teenage pregnancy are planning activities in educational institutions in the country. The federal event will be at the Cetis 49 campus in Xochimilco on September 28, coinciding with the Global Day of Action for Access to Legal and Safe Abortion.
* General Secretary of Conapo