It’s not a normal life. At least, it shouldn’t be. In El Salvador, teenage girls can’t walk to school or walk to the store alone or hang out with their friends because at any given moment they can be killed or disappeared.
In #15Girls, a new series by NPR, the terror-riddled lives of girls living in a gang-infested country are explored. During the first day of reporting, NPR saw the corpse of Marcela, a 15-year-old girl shot twice in the head in broad daylight on a street corner. The reason? She may have said no to being the girlfriend of a gang member.
Another girl, whose name could not be revealed in order to protect her, has been used as a bartering tool by her imprisoned gang member father. The ultimatum he gave the ex-wife, “if she doesn’t give him $50,000 when he gets out, he’ll have the girl raped and killed.”
It has become so incredibly violent that El Salvador has become “a country of girls with two main choices: Hide from gangs or give in to them” because “there is so much violence […] someone dies there, on average, every hour.”
Read or listen to Marcela, Aby and Mimi’s stories here.