This weekend our newspaper reported a sobering and disturbing statistic about girls in El Salvador. At latest count, thirty percent of all pregnancies in El Salvador are to girls under the age of 15. That is roughly 1 out of every 3. The text under the headline reported that many of the cases are rapes. You can read the report in Spanish here.
This is terrible news for girls.
The reality is that girls in El Salvador are in crisis. They are vulnerable to rape, abuse, and trafficking. These girls leave school and enter a cycle of poverty that is virtually impossible to break. A third of all pregnancies to girls under 15 is a third too many.
Unfortunately the news isn’t much better for boys. Tori had to do a project last week using headlines from the newspaper. As she was cutting them out, we learned together that El Salvador is incredibly dangerous for all children growing up here. The newspaper had story after story of minors being murdered. This recent report lists El Salvador in the number one spot in the world for homicides against children ages 0-19.
Something must be done to protect these children. It is no surprise that this year has been record-breaking in terms of children immigrating to the U.S. Our hearts break for these kids who live each day in fear of being raped or murdered.
I read these statistics and I wonder if there is any point to what we are doing. The problems are just too big, and our efforts seem just too small. I am discouraged and overwhelmed by the enormity of suffering that exists in El Salvador.
I ask you to pray for these children, and to pray for us that we would have the wisdom to engage the kids most at risk in a way that points them to God, and gives them hope for tomorrow. We simply must do better for these children.