What going to happen
If the music stop?
—Wham Bam, David Rudder
The hysterical nature of the headlines suggests that we’re still suffering from I never thought.The twelve year old pupil who was found with condoms in her school bag should in fact be commended for taking steps to protect herself. Because we close our eyes to it doesn’t mean our little precious children aren’t thinking about and acting on their sexual urges.
Because we live in a society where we’d rather hang people than create a more equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth maybe our children are having to develop their own survival mechanisms.
And a condom is a symbol of that desperate holding on to life.
How many stories about children being born out of incestuous alliances have you heard about? Endless.
How many teenage girls have you heard are minding their families on the money they get from an older man? Plenty.
How many young girls are taking cytotec and permanently destroying their chances of having children in the future do you know? There are whole wards dedicated to them in our nation’s hospitals.
It’s wining season and all around we’re doing our fertility dances and reveling in the freeness.
Meanwhile our children are wandering the streets with condoms in their bags.
And my gut reaction is thank Jah for that.
Which is not to say that I want 12-year-old girls to be having sex.
But if this child or whoever she’s being abused by has the good sense to ensure that she has some sort of protection, then that is a good start.
In spite of all the studies, in spite of all the reports, the pleadings, we still can’t quite seem to get our heads around the fact, jeezanages our children are having a lot of sex.
We can’t continue to deny it, whether for sheer enjoyment or because they are being pressured into situations with older men and women who should know better.
Still, I wonder if it would have been more appropriate for 12-year-old boys to be found with condoms.
Because the macho nonsense about men somehow having more of a right to explore their sexuality than women still applies and that really pisses me off.
So if we’re encouraging our boys to have sex, who the hell are they supposed to have sex with?
And it’s not just when you’re twelve. Women are expected to miraculously remain chaste and pure while our men are actively encouraged to have a few women. And then when the time is right all the men look for a nice hymenally gifted church girl to give the diseases of their wild youth to.
But my friends who work in sexual and reproductive health tell me that even the church girls know the trick of keeping the hymen intact but doing every other possible thing, including unprotected anal sex.
So what. What are we going to do about condoms in school bags? Are we going to start searching school bags now to find another way to make young girls feel alienated, ashamed and deathly afraid of their sexuality?
Is it that we don’t want our children to have sex? Is it that we want to protect our young women from being preyed on by older, richer men who lure them away from innocence with promises of a snack box or a pair of school shoes? Is it that we want our women to continue to exist in this schism of sexy innocence?
Because, as I told my own 12-year-old niece the other day, after she related to me the scare-mongering that passes for sex education for girls, it’s not sex that is the problem but how you take responsibility for your body and your actions.
And if your body tells you that it’s ready for sex then the next thing your mind should think is how do I protect myself from all the unwanted complications?
And if we’re not arming our children with the information to make these kind of informed decisions then we are doomed to continue to cry for our young women who continue to top the HIV statistics.
Instead of getting hysterical about it, maybe we should be putting condoms in all school bags.