Every day, 21 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 are raped in Colombia, the United Nations said Wednesday in a report on girls’ well-being.
The report of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) cited statistics of Colombia’s Medical Examiner’s Office that found that 7,648 girls in that age group were raped in Colombia in 2015, compared to 3,065 underage boys.
According to the reports, girls between 10 and 14 are the most affected by sexual violence and abuse in Colombia.
Among girls in the same age group, 18 give birth every day, leading to roughly 6,600 births by mothers of 14 and younger every year.
Of these girls, 64% live in rural areas. Half of the men who impregnated the girls are an adults.
In one day, 22 girls are victims of physical violence. On average, 11 girls under 14 are murdered each month.
UNFPA Colombia director Jorge Parra told RCN Radio that the cause of this excessive (sexual) violence against girls “is due to a lack of sex education, not necessarily about contraceptives but about self esteem and values related to sexuality.”
“Sexist practices and the little investment that is made in youth in Latin American countries” is another reason for Colombian girls’ grim reality, the research director of the UNFPA report, Babatunde Osotimehin, was quoted as saying in the El Nuevo Siglo newspaper.
The reports focused on girls 10 to 15 because the health and education of this population is critical to reaching the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN report calls for greater investment in the education of young girls, and also singles out sexual education as a way to potentially empower them to take control of their own lives.
This has been a controversial subject lately, as religious conservatives have blocked the introduction of sexual education, which had included a section on identifying and helping them avoid sexual abuse.