Every day, four girls experience sexual abuse, and two girls under age 15 give birth, according to information from the Attorney General and the Ministry of Public Health.
To end this violence, UNFPA is working with the Ministry of Women, the Ministry of Education and Science, and the Itaipú Binacional company to launch Noviazgo sin Violencia, which means “Dating without Violence.” The initiative will train hundreds of teachers to address violence in relationships, a methodology developed by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
Sexual violence is any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence or coercion, acts to traffic a person or acts directed against a person's sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim. Murder occurring either during a sexual assault or as a result of an honor killing in response to a sexual assault is also a factor of sexual violence.
Though women and girls suffer disproportionately from these aspects, sexual violence can occur to anybody at any age; it is an act of violence that can be perpetrated by parents, caregivers, acquaintances and strangers, as well as intimate partners.
Liz Roberts, chief program officer and deputy CEO of Safe Horizon, said that despite the substantial resources the city had appropriated to address the scourge in recent years, there were still barriers that discourage victims from leaving their partners and filing charges.
For instance, she said, the city’s domestic violence shelters are paid for through a federal program intended to help families, and so have few spots for single victims.
The participation of youth – on social media and in schools – is critical to these efforts.
“I’m so happy to know there are campaigns to address this issue, to get people to talk about it, so other girls can understand they’re not alone if they’re going through a similar experience,” she said.
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