News from the Global South

4-Country Study Sheds Light on Abuse of Boys

Inquirer - Manila, Philippines, 2/13/2020

Around 400 male respondents from four countries, namely India, Nepal, Cambodia and Philippines participated in a study on sexual violence inflicted on boys. The study indicated how owing to socio-cultural pressures, the sexual violence faced by boys is different from that faced by girls. The dominant notions of toxic masculinity make it difficult for boys to address their own abuse and open up about it, and also make it difficult for parents and service providers to deal with the matter sensitively. The member-organisations who have worked on the reports since 2017 are the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse (Philippines), Butterflies (India), First Step Cambodia (Cambodia) and Voice of Children (Nepal).

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Bill Seeking to Curb Teen Pregnancy Reaches Senate Floor

Inquirer – Manila, Philippines, 2/12/2020

In her speech to endorse the bill to curb teenage pregnancy, Sen. Risa Hontiveros provided a key statistics around the state of teenage pregnancy in the Philippines. She shared the fact that 302 girls aged 15 to 19 gave birth to their fourth child. She shed light on how teenage pregnancy often leads to a high number of maternal deaths amongst young girls. Reportedly, the bill consolidates three measures to tackle teenage pregnancy, which include providing necessary healthcare to pregnant girls, providing guidance and information, providing counselling services and providing flexible learning options so that young parents can continue with their education. The bill also would provide special care to first-time parents, especially those who belong to economically disadvantaged and marginalised sections of the society.

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African Campaigners Urge Investments in Reproductive Health for Youth

News Ghana, Africa, 2/11/2020

Kenya is hosting a conference from February 10 to February 14, 2020, to discuss the reproductive health agenda of youth in resource-constrained settings like urban slums. The conference will be attended by campaigners and researchers who will be sharing their knowledge and best practices that can be adopted to promote access to reproductive health services for vulnerable youth, women and girls. The conference also aims to bring into focus on demanding concrete actions for bridging the funding gap that have derailed access to contraceptives among youth living in urban slums. The campaigners emphasise the importance of focussing financing towards safe abortions and HIV prevention, as they are keys to boost the overall health and wellbeing of Africa’s young population.

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Lawmakers Mull over Ages 16 or 18 for Minimum Age of Sexual Consent

Rappler - Manila, Philippines, 2/10/2020

Lawmakers in the Philippines have been tackling arguments to raise the minimum age of sexual consent from 12 years old. As per the records, this age is the lowest in Southeast Asia and among the lowest in the world. The lawmakers are finding themselves in a dilemma as they agree that the minimum age of consent should be raised to 18 years, while at the same time they think it might violate the young people’s right to sexual exploration. UNICEF Child Protection specialist Marj Ardivilla recommended that the statistical data should be considered in determining the age of consent. However, she observed that violence data in the Philippines is not always reliable since rape cases are sometimes listed as ‘acts of lasciviousness’ instead.

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Activists Write to Facebook against Encryption, Says It Will Dent Bid to Curb Child Pornography

Hindustan Times, India, 2/9/2020

Facebook is working to extend end-to-end encryption across its social media messaging applications Facebook Messenger and Instagram. However, child protection organisations and activists have commented that it would make it almost impossible for law enforcement agencies to access evidence or detect potential abuse. Activists have advocated that while keeping the data safe of the users is a legitimate argument, Facebook also has a responsibility to work with law enforcement agencies to prevent the use of its platform for grooming, sharing of child sex abuse imagery and the coercion of children for producing these imageries. As per the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) data, in 2018 alone, Facebook registered 16.8 million reports with it about child abuse imagery.

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