Last Tuesday, October 4th, we published an article that started with the phrase “the girl got pregnant” and questioned whether girls get pregnant or they make her pregnant. The article analyzes the responsibility of men who sexually abuse girls and make them pregnant and their invisibility in our society.
Today’s article is about the responsibility of families in the face of sexual violence and pregnancy of girls.
Consideration of families and their responsibility in cases of girls and adolescents who have been sexually abused and become pregnant requires an analysis of several elements, such as the following:
a) Presence of children and adolescents who live in families where there are no responsible adults. We constantly find in the research work that we make presence of children and adolescents who live in a residence without adults. Those / as may be related by blood or friendship. Likewise, the cases of teenage mothers who live alone with their sons and daughters. (RD PLAN 2020) (Ramirez/Vargas 2008)
b) Accusing girls and adolescents of sexual violence. Sexual violence in our society (families do not escape this reality) is normalized and invisible. When a girl is abused, it is understood that she had sexual relations of her own free will and that she caused this situation, even when the abuse took place within the family.
c) Lack of approach to sexual harassment and violence in families. Various studies conducted with families from different backgrounds (Vargas/Ramirez 2008) (PLAN RD 2020) show that families do not offer girls guidance or tools to protect themselves from sexual violence.
d) Lack of guidance on knowing your body, preventing pregnancy and STIs. Adolescent mothers interviewed in different studies (PLAN RD 2020) (Ramirez/Vargas 2008) (Miric, Perez and Vargas 2011) admit that they have not received any guidance on how to prevent pregnancy in their families.
The studies also interviewed the adults responsible for the teenage mothers, who denied offering guidance on the topic because they waited until they were adults to talk about it.
e) Injunctions to have no boyfriends or sex in adolescence are not effective from the information obtained in the studies.
A large proportion of the teenage mothers interviewed in the studies indicated that their fathers/mothers and responsible adults did not get the ban on sex until they were teenagers, and in many cases they were not allowed to go out for fun or have boyfriends. (PLAN RD 2020) (Ramirez/Vargas 2008) (Mirich, Perez and Vargas 2011)
“They wouldn’t let me go out, I couldn’t have boyfriends, so I wouldn’t have sex and get pregnant.” (15-year-old teenage mother)
“Parents today are very serious, if you talk to them about pregnancy and how to protect it, they can give you a cookie”
f) Lack of dialogue and effective communication between adults and girls-boys-adolescents. In all the studies we have carried out over the last 20 years, including the latest studies (2022), the lack of dialogue and consultation between adults with children and adolescents under their responsibility is shown. Adults understand that they are having a dialogue when they give orders and mandates, understanding that children and adolescents are not subjects of rights.
g) Mistrust in children and adolescents in families .
Girls and adolescents show that they do not have an environment of trust in their homes. This mistrust keeps responsible adults unaware of sexual abuse cases they are victims of, in addition to many risky situations.
In addition to these elements, it should be noted that the adults responsible for the families studied in the different strata did not receive from the education system: sexuality education, training on the rights of children and adolescents and sexual and reproductive rights. Gaps in these educational processes are combined with the reproduction of authoritarian relations in many families, which cause, together with the lack of prevention and protection of childhood and adolescence, great differences and conflicts between generations.