If the girl involved in the escapade as reported is 10, then the school and majority commentators have been unfair to her, her age and her parents; with the treatment of the issue and the blames being bandied here and there.
First, she is obviously too young to fully comprehend the implications of what she has done. Second, she wasn’t alone. But we have been mostly silent about her partakers, deciding to heap the blames on her and her parents. To be sure, the kid and her mates are victims of our collective failure as a society.
Our uncomfortable silence about anything sex, the serious lack of sexual education in homes and in schools hasn’t helped a bit. Our kids are now quicker to reach puberty, we now live in a heavily sexualised environment where everything is saturated with raw sex – our music, fashion, adverts, TV shows all glamourises sex, with individuals who engaged in live sex coming on to become our celebrities!
Most homes get glued to these shows, parents adopt characters who they support and promote. What did we think that reflects and projects of us? What signals did we assume we have passed on to our children who mould their reality after us?
Meanwhile, the age related restrictions to sexual contents are shattered when we place smart phones in the hands of our minors, giving them unrestricted access to all sorts of pornography.
Importantly, the age of sexual debut has decreased and with adolescents peaking earlier than before, our kids are biologically ready for sex at a stage we knew not our right hand from our left.
People talk about parenting, but my experience working with young people shows that only those kids with access to sex education normally scale this hurdle.
We have a lot of work to do as a society. Part of that effort must include talking about sex openly with our kids. Our silence only drives them to seek answers elsewhere, mostly from their peers, who also know next to nothing aside what the internet pops up.
We have to be realistic and know that this generation is different. They have access to what we don’t and they know more than most parents do about sex.
Parents, get used to the fact your children are having massive sex in ways beyond your imagination. Accept and brace up. Educate them. With the right education, they usually take informed decisions. They are sharp kids – this generation. Talk to them, discuss, don’t lord it over them and you will be surprised how well behaved they can be.
The parents involved in this scenario more than anything needs our support, understanding and love. Stop blaming them. Parenting is a big deal. Dealing with this generation requires big tact, patience and deep love. We should stop apportioning blames on the victims of our collective failure.
Steve Aborisade is the Marketing Manager of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and writes from Abuja