Thursday, 3 September 2015

Demystifying Myths and Misconceptions about Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)

I always look at adolescence as a swim or sink stage in every human being’s life albeit most parents and guardians do not want to acknowledge this fact. It is quite a trying period when one tries to experiment with almost everything be it sex, drugs, alcohol and what have you. This is a stage whereby many people lose their visions and live a life full of regret just because of the mistake(s) they made when they were adolescents. 

One of the most hazardous experiments is conducted with sex and there is no other way we can explain what befalls an inexperienced driver who drives so fast along a busy and winding street – When something happens, we always say; he /she was na├»ve and careless. But the question is; after you had observed the naivety and carelessness, what did you do to help? The society is not supposed to sit down and watch promising young lives getting destroyed because they lacked information.

A good choice is made as a result of prior information one has before making a decision to choose something. If young people are to abstain from sex, they certainly need to be provided with comprehensive information concerning the advantages of making such a choice. Comprehensive information should also be given to those who fail to abstain in order to safeguard them from blindly falling into a ditch.  These are some of the reasons why I always advocate for age-appropriate sexuality education and I strongly feel that all young people should also demand this from established sources.  Young people should always remember that preparing for one’s future is analogous to preparing for examination; you really need to be knowledgeable for you to pass. Knowledge comes as a direct result of learning appropriate things and being exposed to the right materials.   

A wise young person is supposed to know when to do what and how. Sometimes, young people trust their peers and other self-appointed sex and sexuality experts. The media is awash with stories of adolescent girls who are impregnated by witch doctors and some unscrupulous pastors whose tricks could be easily avoided only if the girls are aware of how their bodies operate. The pseudo witchdoctors and pastors fabricate prophecies and visions which they use to trick the unsuspecting young girls into sleeping with them. Furhermore, the world will debate less or not have any problem concerning the issue of termination of pregnancies among young people, be it safe or unsafe abortion.

However, parents and guardians believe and also make young people feel that Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is a problem instead of looking at it as part of the solution to sexual and reproductive health problems which young people face every day. Parents and guardians do not allow their adolescent children to attend CSE simply because of some predominant myths and misconceptions surrounding CSE as stated and demystified below.
  1. Comprehensive Sexuality Education is a sin against God. The belief that CSE is a sin has led to a number of challenges whereby people have grown up without properly knowing their bodies. Neither does CSE use vulgar language nor does it intend to destroy or encourage immorality.
  2. Comprehensive Sexuality Education turns young people into sex maniacs. This misconception is also misleading and a total distortion of the truth. CSE aims at delaying the first sexual encounter among young people and simply offers some alternatives when the youth have failed to abstain from sex. In my opinion, a youth with full knowledge of his or her sexuality is more likely to abstain from sex than those who are not.    
  3. Comprehensive Sexuality Education teaches taboo subjects to small children. There is always a consideration of age and CSE always imparts young people with age-appropriate sexuality information. Thus, with this in mind, the information given to the adolescents cannot be off-limits.
  4. Promoting the use of condoms and contraceptives encourages young people to tryout. It may be hard to believe but it is true that there are some young people out there who are sexually active and it is hard and inconceivable to tacitly allow them to have unprotected casual sex. Furthermore, CSE promotes ABC and one study that was conducted in 1997 also indicated that the promotion and distribution of condoms to adolescents does not increase rates of sexual activity, but significantly increases condom use among those adolescents who are sexually active (Guttmacher et al., 1997; Schuster, Bell).

We really need to work-out our fears and look at things the way they are. Young people’s HIV and STI prevalence rates are already high, early pregnancies have also led to a number of heartrending consequences among many young people. The myths and misconceptions we hold and protect are the main barriers that have stood on path to young people’s social and economic development.