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New attitudes to sex necessary - Mutabaruka


Mutabaruka, left, and Simms

SEX can't be kept a secret if young people are expected to educate themselves on the subject says popular dub poet Mutabaruka.

Speaking at a forum entitled 'Sex, lies and politics - a Jamaican social feature' hosted by the National HIV/STI Control Programme of the Ministry of Health yesterday, Mutabaruka said if sex is kept under the hush-hush cover of taboo-like jargon, young people are going to remain unreachable and confused, as they won't be able link the approach of adults towards sex and their existing reality.

"We need to develop a new attitude and a new language when you start to talk about how we are going to pass this education on sex," said Mutabaruka. "I don't think the people have come to grips that the value system that was placed on them when they were children," he added.

Mutabaruka was one of four presenters, including Professor Barry Chevannes, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the UWI; Dr. Carolyn Cooper, Head of the Department of Literatures in English, UWI; and Dr. Glenda Simms, executive director of the Bureau of Women's Affairs, addressing an audience of health professionals and educators at the forum held at Le Meridien Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.

He said that while he isn't suggesting throwing away older values and attitudes towards the sex, he said it was high time that adults realise that the values which worked for them as young people is not working for young people today.

In her presentation, 'Sexual negotiation in a culture of violence - who holds the power?', Dr. Simms suggested that as a nation, "we revisit the social and psychological underpinnings of patriarchy," in order to explain who holds the power in male-female relationships in Jamaica.

She said through various world studies that despite changes in the world today including Jamaica, women remained vulnerable to violence and risky sexual behaviour because of their low social status and low self-esteem.

She explained that studies have shown that more women are willing to take charge of their sexuality today more that ever, but in the end, most times the violence meted out to them by their partners makes it difficult for them to practise safe sex. Many men, she said, still feel their sexuality is threatened when the women suggests the use of a condom.

She also pointed out that if we are to stem the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, we will have to adjust culturally and accept homosexual relations as a part of the society.

Professor Chevannes elaborated on machismo culture and the Jamaican male, while Dr. Cooper spoke about 'trust in the age of AIDS' through poetry and the lyrics of a song by popular entertainer Lady Saw.

SEX CAN'T be kept a secret if young people are expected to educate themselves on the subject, says popular dub poet Mutabaruka. Speaking at a forum entitled 'Sex, lies and politics' ­ a Jamaican social feature hosted by the National HIV/STI Control Programme of the Ministry of Health yesterday, Mutabaruka said if sex is kept under the hush-hush cover of taboo-like jargon, young people are going to remain unreachable and confused, as they won't be able to link the approach of adults towards sex and their existing reality.

"We need to develop a new attitude and a new language when you start to talk about how we are going to pass this education on sex," said Mutabaruka. "I don't think the people have come to grips that the value system that was placed on them when they were children," he added.

Mutabaruka was one of four presenters, including Professor Barry Chevannes, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the UWI; Dr. Carolyn Cooper, Head of the Department of Literatures in English, UWI; and Dr. Glenda Simms, executive director of the Bureau of Women's Affairs, addressing an audience of health professionals and educators at the forum held at Le Meridien Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.

He said that while he isn't suggesting throwing away older values and attitudes towards the sex, he said it was high time that adults realise that the values which worked for them as young people are not working for young people today.

In her presentation, 'Sexual negotiation in a culture of violence ­ who holds the power?', Dr. Simms suggested that as a nation, "we revisit the social and psychological underpinnings of patriarchy," in order to explain who holds the power in male-female relationships in Jamaica.

She said through various world studies that despite changes in the world today, including Jamaica, women remained vulnerable to violence and risky sexual behaviour because of their low social status and low self-esteem.

She explained that studies have shown that more women are willing to take charge of their sexuality today more that ever, but in the end, most times the violence meted out to them by their partners makes it difficult for them to practise safe sex. Many men, she said, still feel their sexuality is threatened when the women suggests the use of a condom.

She also pointed out that if we are to stem the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, we will have to adjust culturally and accept homosexual relations as a part of the society.

Professor Chevannes elaborated on machismo culture and the Jamaican male, while Dr. Cooper spoke about 'trust in the age of AIDS' through poetry and the lyrics of a song by popular entertainer Lady Saw.

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