Subtle forms of violence and pregnant teenagers

Sexual violence does not lead to teenage pregnancy cases in Cuba as much as it does in other countries of the region.

«Subtle forms of violence are actually related to early pregnancy situations,» said Livia Quintana, a psychologist working for the University of Havana’s Population Study Center (CEDEM).

«Young men are making younger girls have usually unsafe sex as a proof of love,» she told SEMlac.

Matilde Molina, another Center psychologist, is now focusing on family violence study.

Looking back

Dianela Ramos* is 21 and her daughter is seven. She hates to remember when she became mother for the first time.

«I was only 13. I fell in love with a very popular school teacher who was married. He simply washed his hands of our whole affair,» she told SEMlac.

They never used condom because he did not like it. «I never insisted; I did not want him to leave me,» she added.

She had to undergo psychiatric treatment and was able to get back to school only several years later.

She is about to complete her training as an intermediate-level accounting technician, and is pregnant again.

Contrasting figures

One third of pregnancies in Latin America involve girls under 18 who have usually endured sexual violence and have lacked information, according to a study conducted in October 2014 in six countries of the region.

«They can hardly exercise their rights to education, health care, and good quality of life,» it revealed.

The study was conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund and Plan International (NGO).

The Cuban Health Statistical Yearbook in 2014 indicated that there had been 51.6 births every 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 in 2013, as compared to 57.3 in 2011.

The highest rates continue to be seen in the eastern provinces (Las Tunas, Guantánamo, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, and Holguín).

«Local teenage mothers usually have a low educational level,» wrote population expert Daylín Rodríguez in an article published by the Youth Study Center (CESJ).

«Most of them are not economically active and live under consensual unions,» she stressed.

«They had not planned to become mothers; they simply failed to get protected,» Quintana indicated at the 7th International Conference on Health Psychology last November.
«They are often abandoned and are seldom supported by their sexual partners,» Quitana recalled.

«They are thus highly vulnerable,» she concluded.

*This young girl asked not to have her real name and surname disclosed.

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