You think giving birth is scary? Well, you haven’t tried digesting the news that your teenage son or daughter is engaging in premarital sex. My friend, you will not sleep that night, you’ll toss in that bed till dawn, heck, you’ll even lose appetite. All you’ll have is a string of endless questions – With who did they sleep with? Was it protected (heck, does she even know how to wear condom)? Did my child consent to it? Or is it a case of rape?
I remember while in form three, my mother found Parents Magazine under my pillow. The last page had a headline reading, “What to expect of Sex after giving birth.” Something close to that. She didn’t care what else was in there, the presence of the term ‘Sex ‘ between those lines was all she needed to confront me. And you know what she did? She simply waited for me to get back to reading the magazine and came burning in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery-anger, ” So you have started having sex at your age?” she blurted out. I was 17 then. I almost told her off with “my friends started having sex way back in primary school”. However, as a good daughter, I chose silence. I hadn’t even seen the sex part anyway, I was just reading about some Celeb. I always envisioned my name as the by line for great interviews and informative articles and that’s why you’d always find me deep into reading mags. But , Lè Mother was here thinking that I am having sex. Me, Rumona, having sex! She went on to preaching to me how fornication is a sin. Mind you, she didn’t even talk about protection, STI’s or unwanted pregnancies. Just sex. Have you ever been accused falsely? I really felt hurt.
A few days ago, following the story of that nine-year old giving birth (you have heard that story?), we were all over internet doing what we do best as social media monitors, you’d even think some of us are sex therapists. You can trust Kenyans On Twitter on that. Ask Ugandans how they lose such wars. Also, recently, some secondary school children were found having sex orgy. I wasn’t shocked. This is because we (Kenyans) started entertaining sex as a normal thing. Talk of leaked sex tapes on facebook and WhatsApp. Leaked nude photos of celebrities and our leaders. Do we by any chance think that our children are not active in these platforms or have not seen our dirt as parents, role models and idols? They are simply copying what we do.
Nonetheless, these children learn about the reproductive health in primary school. Standard 6-8 teaches them children about menstruation, how the ova travels to the oviduct, the hazardous journey of the sperm from Urethra to the Uterus. So they know! And we have YouTube for demos. And if the demos are not satisfactory, these kids end up doing it practically. How does it feel? Is the question that lingers at the back of their minds.
As major stakeholders in the lives of our children, we need to talk about sex comprehensively. Reach out to these boys and girls and talk to them about sex. Let the children know that at some age, the mind is not yet ready to handle the actual sex and it’s consequences. It’s not about the physical but also the emotional aspect. Let them know that sometimes they may find themselves as part of people perpetuating sexual violence. We like talking about sex, but do we really exhaust the real issues surrounding sex? Do we address rape adequately? I am proud of the many recommendable steps taken by different organizations in taking care of the rape victims. The government through the judiciary is also doing something to ensure that the perpetrators are bought to book whereas I cannot close my eyes to sad facts of evidence being tampered with in some cases – the sad part of a parent.
We tend to think that these children are naïve. The truth is, they know more than we can perceive. We are in an era where Series and Movies only cost 50 shillings. These kids watch sex being acted in our absence.
The back still rests with us as parents, we all love to hear of finer details in regards to finances, job transfers, land purchases, etc directly from our spouses rather than hearing about such details from third parties. Don’t you think our children will equally appreciate and make informed decisions when the sex talk came from us? It will also give them a chance to open up and ask questions about sex and tell you what they know or heard. These children are intelligent and capable of making good informed decisions in regards to sexuality, but only if they have the right information, from the right channels.
How we present and package sex will determine how our children react to it. Sex is a beautiful thing to adults who at times pretend to know what they are doing. But to kids!