6 March 2014

Africa: 15 Facts On Sex, Pregnancy, Marriage and Violence

Photo: UN Photo/Marco Dormino
Students attend class at a public school in Taliko, a neighbourhood of Bamako.

press release

At a Glance

Hundreds of millions of young people are being put at risk by government action or inaction with regards to their sex lives. Current UN and NGO estimates paint a perilous picture for their future.

Sex

1. Same-sex sexual activity is currently illegal in at least 76 countries. While Amnesty International has not recorded any cases to date, it is punishable by death in Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, and parts of Nigeria and Somalia (ILGA'S STATE-SPONSORED HOMOPHOBIA REPORT 2013 Happiness and anger).

2. There are 340 million new sexually transmitted infections around the world each year. Young men and women between the ages of 15 and 24 have the highest rate (UNFPA, The State of World Population 2013).

3. 3000 young people around the world are infected with HIV every day (UNAIDS, Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2010).

Pregnancy

4. More than 142 million adolescent girls are likely to give birth by 2020 (International Centre for Research on Women).

5. 70,000 adolescents die each year as a result of their pregnancy (UNFPA).

6. 215 million women worldwide cannot access contraception (UNFPA).

7. An estimated 22 million unsafe abortions take place every year (WHO).

Marriage

8. 50 million girls are likely to be married before their 15th birthday over the next decade (UNFPA, The State of World Population 2013).

9. In 52 countries, girls under 15 can marry with parental consent (UNFPA, Marrying too young, end child marriage).

10. If present trends continue the number of child marriages each year will be 15 million by 2030, a 14 per cent rise (UNFPA, Marrying too young, end child marriage).

Violence

11. 150 million girls across the world under the age of 18 have been sexually assaulted. 50 per cent of those were under 16 when it happened (Commission on Population and Development, UN Secretary-General Report to the Commission on Population and Development, 2012, E/CN.9/2012/5).

12. For 64 per cent of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, their first sexual experience was assault (Commission on Population and Development, UN Secretary-General Report to the Commission on Population and Development, 2012, E/CN.9/2012/5).

13. In the United States, 83 per cent of girls aged 12 to 16 in state-run schools have experienced sexual harassment at school (UN Women).

14. 140 million women and girls worldwide been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Three million girls worldwide remain at risk of the procedure every year (UN Women).

15. One in three women worldwide have experienced violence and/or sexual abuse (UNFPA).

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