Virginia’s Good Intentions
Posted by ritualground on March 12, 2007
Sylvia at The Anti-Essentialist Conundrum alerts readers to a problematic public health campaign in the State of Virginia that aims to raise awareness about statutory rape in the Latin@ community. A quote from the article at CNN.com:
“Gracias Papi: A fotonovela about a young woman, an older guy and a loving father” will be distributed across Virginia starting in April. The Health Department already has received calls from interested health care workers in Illinois, Arizona, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida and Tennessee. The effort stems from Virginia’s “Isn’t she a little young?” statutory rape campaign, a 2004 project employing everything from billboards to napkins bearing the provocative question. Robert Franklin, a Health Department male outreach coordinator, immediately got requests to translate the materials into Spanish. “Getting males to challenge their peers about having sex with teens is hard in any culture,” said Franklin, who felt a one-size-fits-all approach wouldn’t work. “I can’t just translate ‘Isn’t she a little young?’ into Spanish.”
Franklin instead began targeting Latino men through Spanish-language radio ads. When he realized he was only addressing part of the problem, Franklin searched for ways to reach Latina teens.
Sylvia weighs in at the comment section:
Those identifications are pretty shaky to suddenly conclude that half of all Latina mothers in VA are having sex with adults. Teen pregnancy is often a sensitive subject in the first place — women are not often gungho to reveal who the fathers of their children are, even if they are the same age or within the legal guidelines. It could be a parental intervention; it could be the father has disappeared and aren’t going to be present in the child’s life… It could have nothing to do with statutory rape. But this article seems to paint statutory rape as the only reason for these causes because they can find a “cultural” link for it. And that’s not a very responsible assertion.