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[PANEL DISCUSSION] Why statistics on teenage pregnancy don't tell the full story

5 September 2021 10:48 AM
Tags:
Rape
Sexual abuse
Statutory rape
Teen pregnancy
teenage pregnancies

A panel of guests joins Weekend Breakfast host Sara-Jayne King for a discussion about child and teenage pregnancy.
  • Dr. Shaheda Omar from the Teddy Bear Clinic says teenage pregnancy statistics often omit key info about factors such as sexual violence and abuse
  • Weekend Breakfast presenter Sara-Jayne King facilitated a panel discussion about child and teen pregnancy during her weekly Talking Point segment
  • There's consensus among panelists that all spheres of society need to take greater responsibility for providing child protection and education about sexual reproductive health, bodily autonomy and sexual violence

Image: © rawpixel/ 123rf.com

Statistics about teenage pregnancy in South Africa are incomplete if the data is not classified under categories including statutory rape, coercion, intimidation, intrafamilial abuse, and incest.

Dr. Shaheda Omar, the clinical director at the Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children, says data on child and teenage pregnancy needs to be seen in the context of all the contributing factors.

Often what we find is that the statistics are not an accurate reflection of what is going on.

Dr Shaheda Omar, Clinical Director - Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children

Public health expert Dr. Mehreen Hunter says teenage pregnancy is more likely to occur in marginalised communities due to a lack of education and misconceptions about reproductive health, among other factors.

Dr. Hunter says at least 13,478 girls in the Western Cape became pregnant in the last year, the majority of them aged between 15 and 19.

This number is down from 13,862 pregnancies in the previous year.

There has been a marginal reduction overall in the proportion of teenage pregnancies year-on-year.

Dr Mehreen Hunter, Public health facilitator - Western Cape Department of Health

Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer says the province is focused on providing age-appropriate education so that all young learners can make informed decisions.

However, in the case of sexual abuse, activists say the families of pregnant victims are not coming forward and reporting the crimes.

Tracey Aitken, the founder of The Zoe Project, says parents, families, and communities have a really important role to play in reporting teen pregnancy and protecting children from predators.

The parents and the moms are not reporting what is happening... and there are not enough social workers coming in.

Tracey Aitken, Founder - The Zoe Project

There needs to be more infrastructure in the schools, prevention before it happens.

Tracey Aitken, Founder - The Zoe Project

The law needs to be more specific... It should be so clear that under 16 is statutory rape. It should be reported and there should be consequences to it.

Tracey Aitken, Founder - The Zoe Project



5 September 2021 10:48 AM
Tags:
Rape
Sexual abuse
Statutory rape
Teen pregnancy
teenage pregnancies

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