Under Philippine law, 12-year-olds can consent to sex. Activists are trying to change that
Updated 5:13 AM ET, Tue July 13, 2021
(CNN)Antonette Acupinpin was 7 when the sexual abuse started.
She had already endured years of beating and physical violence from her mother and stepfather, she said -- but then he took it a step further.
He would put a long knife near her face during the abuse, and threaten to kill her mother and brother if she reported him, she said. Terrified and ashamed, she didn't tell anyone for a year and a half -- until a school teacher saw her with a black eye and notified the police.
"I felt hopeless," said Acupinpin, now 23. "It felt like I had nowhere to go because it's my family who was hurting me. I didn't know anyone who could really help me."
She's not alone. Child sexual abuse is rampant in the Philippines, which activists say is partly driven by the country's law regarding the age at which girls can legally consent to sex.