I took time off last week and interacted with girls in their teens, after I had asked friends on social media as to why parents are afraid to talk to their children about sex and Aids. Well, let’s say what I picked up from our conversations was very, very interesting. I am only sharing because I feel it can help us parents especially because most of us are afraid to mention the ‘S’ word, because we feel our girls are still too young to understand the way we wish them to.
The first thing my conversation with the girls revealed was that most of them had their very first sexual encounter before they turned 15. It could have been kissing, bad touching, or actual penetration. What’s more, all of them admitted that they experienced these above acts out of home. It was either at school, at a party or a relative’s home.
They all seemed to have a lot of knowledge on this topic but none suggested that either of their parents was the source of the information. From my understanding, none of them is comfortable talking about it with their parents. Why? Because they are afraid of their reactions (some parents are too tough) or they don’t want to lose mum/dad’s trust.
Interestingly, where the girls had engaged in sex, none of them had been raped; they had willingly and curiously got involved. With who? Uncles, friends, cousins, and even house helps (shamba boys). What they had to say about their first time experience was just as interesting. Some have since gone ahead to have more sexual activities and with different partners, some have never done it again and did not like it, others feel very ashamed to even talk about it, the younger ones are more afraid because they think they acquired HIV, a few got pregnant that first time and had to carry out abortions because of school and public opinion, and so on.
What am I driving at here? I am simply trying to show parents what is happening out there. And these are not children from international schools like I am always told. These are ordinary beautiful young girls in our community. They represent all our daughters, so do not get comfortable and say to yourself that “my daughter is okay because she is always under my watch”.
It is even sadder to note that majority were not able to open up; most of them tried to speak and just broke down. I will never know their story but it sure must be painful. It takes courage, but you ought to find that courage and get talking, and get them talking. It is the only way you will find out to which one of these categories they belong. Else, they will silence themselves to death. Do what you can, while you can and leave the rest to the one who trusted us with this delicate role of parenting.