Salvadoran Women and Suicide

At a time in which El Salvador is in a dire crisis of violence, with American-born and bred gangs like MS-13 and Barrio 18 controlling large portions of the national territory, women in the country fight their own uphill battle.

Suicide represents 57 percent of the cause of death among girls 10-19 years old in El Salvador, the second mortality cause in that group. It is also the fourth cause of death among women 20-49 years old. El Salvador has one of the most restrictive abortion policies in the world; it is not permitted if the life of the mother is in danger or a victim is raped. 

Lack of access to abortion and support from authorities are part of the problem, but not the only contributing factor to high rate of suicide. Sexual violence, even in one’s home, stigma, and gang violence make for a troubled formula in a setting of impunity. Women here are pressured to be mothers, and the vulnerability of young, rural, poor women is so high that they can’t make decisions about their own body, education, and their future.