Teenage pregnancy

I have to say that I have been having a lot of conversations recently about teenage promiscuity and teenage pregnancy in Chile— sparked not only by my work, but also by two recent news stories: the wena naty videos and the couple selling their unborn child on the internet. Let’s review these cases for those not living in Chile and thus not bombarded by them.

The “wena naty” video has been a story circulating in Chile for weeks. Full story here. Basically, a 14 year old girl was video taped (by a cell phone) having oral sex with classmates presumably on school grounds. Afterwards, the video was put up on the internet, the girl was expelled, and the country has vacillated between shock and laughter. The girl, expelled from school, is now known throughout the country and is going to have a hard time living this one down.

The second is the story of a teenage couple who decide to try and sell their unborn child over the internet. Full story here. Basically, they were young, got pregnant, didn’t know what to do and decided to try and make some money off the situation. Currently Child and Family Services is involved and has promised to protect both mother and child.

And some facts:

Needless to say, these stories have started a conversation about teenagers (and children) having sex in Chile. Sadly, all too often these conversations don’t seem to go anywhere. In the case of Naty, it has become a joke which people laugh about. Rarely have I had a conversation with anyone about the underlying machismo that resulted in the girl being vilified and expelled while nothing happened to the boys. Nor have I had conversations (that I didn’t start) about the fact that we are really talking about child pornography here.

In the case of the teens trying to sell their children most people have been shocked. The reasons the children gave (to buy a car, because you can’t go to parties with a little one) are horrifying. At the same time, it is not leading to a much needed conversation about sex education and access to contraception that needs to take place on a national level.

Admittedly, it has been a long time since I was in high school (both here and in the states), but sadly very little has changed. About the only progress here in Chile is that girls who get pregnant are not automatically expelled from school as they were in the past. However, the sex education is still negligible at best. And, teens who want to have safe sex, continue to have problems in accessing condoms or birth control– especially out in the regions where stores may simply refuse to sell them to teens or threated to tell the teen’s mother.

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8 comments

  1. at least Bachelet is keeping the day after pill in the public eye.

    but, I have to agree, I could NOT BELIEVE that Naty was expelled from her school. I definitely would’ve understood maybe a family decision to voluntarily remove her from the school because I could imagine wanting to try and start fresh someplace else after that incident…but that she was expelled is just unreal.

  2. I think I am more upset about the fact that the boys were not expelled than that she was. It should have been an either or. Either everyone is expelled or noone is.

  3. Thanks for your comment, this was an interesting post. I don’t know how much emergency contraception would help. BC is OTC and that doesn’t seem to help anything. I think the problem is a general indifference to the situation. I honestly feel like young girls and BOYS just don’t care about getting pregnant. It’s like a reckless laziness or something. I also think that when you have other peers who are also pregnant it seems “OK.” My husband said at 17 he just never believed it could happen. He didn’t even think about consequences. I think a lot of people don’t. That’s why you have a ton of grandparents raising their kid’s kids and tons of uninvolved, deadbeat dads.

  4. I think that part of that believing it could never be them is a lack of education. It is amazing the misinformation that Chilean teens believe about contraception and pregnancy because it is not adequately taught in schools— similar info can be found on research on abstinence only programs in the US. There will always be teens who do not protect themselves— but in Chile, teens almost have no chance. They have little/ no education, little to no access (some clinics and pharmacies especially in smaller areas will not sell or report to parents, no gyno exams as teens). And the “ok” factor here is based on societal need. I mean, what else are you going to do? Abortion is illegal. Adoption is rare. You get by and see others getting by.

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