As a young person I want to have Sexual, Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information in the open for whole young people to know.
The kind of information that addresses adolescence, sexuality, gender, rights, and the prevention of health risks such as HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unintended pregnancies and sexual abuse.
Why you ask?
Because it empowers young people to make their own, informed decisions, with a positive view on sexuality before diving in head fast. The right to exercise control over one’s own sexuality and reproduction is fundamental for all people.
Do you know that sexual and reproductive ill health is one of the most common health problems for women aged 15 to 44 in developing countries, where pregnancy, unsafe abortions, childbirth or harmful customs, such as female genital mutilation, can endanger the lives of women?
If I can have an education on things like find x and y which am sure most of us are not using in our daily life, why not have an education on sex that I will use for the rest of my life till death do I part from the world?
Why keep me in the dark about sex and decide for me when to have sex, who to have it with and how? Shouldn’t I decide that? After all it is my body…
SRHR issues extend to equal opportunities, rights and conditions of all people to have a safe and satisfying sexual life, and to be able to decide over their own bodies without coercion, violence or discrimination.
This common withdraw of knowledge and discrimination oppresses young people and leads them into doing things that are unguided and misinformed. I had my own share on misinformation, it is not pretty!!
When I was 12 my curiosity about sexuality kicked in, I asked question and was considered so young to be wondering about such things. I resorted to magazines, asked my friends who really had no idea but shared things they had read, heard and watched in movies. I went to extremes of writing letters to relationship editors and calling into radio talk shows to get answers. It gets worse when you get the wrong information from a personal considered informative and an expert on the topic.
Nowadays I just post in secret groups on Facebook and get hundreds of comments as answers or google search for answers and solutions….
Is this the best we can offer?
Do you know that there is no age-segregated data about this topic of sexuality? That it is very difficult to plan, implement and monitor activities and policies on young people’s SRHR between the age of 12 and 26 years?
Do you know why?
Because we have made this topic a taboo, never to be talked about and now we have many young mothers on our hands, young people struggling with their sexuality, young parents who have no idea about family planning, children who have no control over their bodies because they don’t know their right.
I understand SRHR is a difficult and controversial issue but we need it and close correlation between SRHR and HIV/AIDS. This work demands initiatives and measures within various policy areas, including social, gender equality and development policies.
Why can’t we have support for SRHR in the form of education, information and counselling for young people, access to contraceptives, sexual and reproductive health care (including counselling and medical care)? This would include development on sexual and reproductive health policies.
What do you think?