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. ​
At just 12 years old, it's the youngest age of consent in Asia -- and one of the