Wisconsin's largest city has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the nation. Now a new effort is underway, to lower teen pregnancy rates in Milwaukee. It's designed to increase public awareness of and discussion about teen pregnancy, and includes attention getting radio spots airing on Milwaukee stations. "Hello rapist," begins one spot. "You're over 18 and you had sex with a teenage girl. That's rape."
A study conducted by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee found the city has the second highest rate of teen births among the nation's fifty largest cities. And the United Way's Essie Allen says focusing on adult males is appropriate. "In Wisconsin, 71% of babies born to teen girls are fathered by adult males over twenty," says Allen. "In 20% of those cases, the fathers are at least six years older than the mothers, so we're talking about issues of statutory rape." Allen says the study also found a need for increased public awareness of teen pregnancy.
Gary Mueller is with the nonprofit agency SERVE Marketing , which developed the spots, working with focus groups of young people. Sexual violence involving teens, says Mueller, is "something that goes on everyday, and no one seems to be alarmed about it. Even after they've heard the facts, no one seems to be up in arms." The radio campaign is designed to increase public awareness of teen pregnancy, part of a broader effort to eventually bring down the rate of teen pregnancies in Milwaukee.