Woman who was mother at 14 cautions kids in video

The broadcast Sunday of the Cadena Nacional featured a Carrillo, Guanacaste, woman, Hazel Arias, who told her story of giving birth at 14 and trying to raise her son Santiago.

She was picked by Casa Presidencial because she has been successful. Despite the odds, and what she described as a hard situation she said she finished school and is taking English at the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje.

The video featured Ana Helena Chacón, the second vice president, and Mercedes Peñas, the wife of President Luis Guillermo Solís.

The video said that more than 90 percent of the men involved in early pregnancies are twice the age of the girls who became pregnant and have much more experience.

It said that this amounted to rape that ought to be reported to law enforcement not just by public officials but also but the public in general.

However, there were no statistics in the video of any arrests that have been made. Typically, some arrests are for incest in Costa Rica when the father of the child is related to the new mother. This could be the young mother’s own father or grandfather. More frequently the father of the new baby is not a blood relative to the new mother but the boyfriend or second husband of the girl’s own mother who lives in the same dwelling. Because of the relationships, criminal charges usually are not sought.

The age of consent in Costa Rica for consensual sex is 15 years as long as there is no remuneration. Sex with a girl under 15 is a crime. Criminal penalties are harsher if the girl is under 12.  Paid sex is a crime if the prostitute is under 18.

The television video noted that there are 14,000 adolescent mothers in Costa Rica each year.

A survey over sexual health was promoted but was not described further. Such a survey was done in 2010 by the Universidad de Costa Rica.

The women blamed early pregnancies on lack of education, lack of sexual education and lack of contraceptive methods.

The video noted that Friday was the world day of preventing adolescent pregnancies.

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