Train children to love, respect their bodies

Published: Monday | December 9, 2013 Comments 0

Elaine Hope, Guest Columnist

The article in The Sunday Gleaner of November 1, 2013, 'Taking condoms to class', shows that children are bringing up parents, teachers and national leaders, and criminals are facilitated at the expense of their victims.

Here are some facts:

AIDS-related deaths among adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 increased by 50 per cent from 2005 to 2012. - UNICEF Ja

Adolescent girls aged 10-19 years are almost three times more likely to become infected with HIV than boys of the same age. - UNICEF Ja

This higher susceptibility for girls is a result of several factors, including early sexual initiation, young girls having sexual relations with HIV-infected older men, high rates of forced sex and prevalent unsafe sexual practices among adolescents. - UNICEF Ja

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Kevin Harvey and UNICEF's country representative Mark Connolly declare that the debate about access to condoms must remain centre stage. According to Connolly, "Condoms save lives. ... If we know how to prevent, then we shouldn't confuse it with a lot of other issues."

Children live what they learn. No one should be giving a 10-year-old a condom; nor a 13-, 15- or 16-year-old. Instead, train children to love and respect their bodies, to see sex as a sacred expression of love, not careless recreation, to be had at any time with anyone as long as they use a condom. We should show them the beauty of abstinence and having one faithful partner, as well as the undesirable consequences of careless sex.

Parents, teachers, social workers and politicians are reneging on their responsibility to teach children moral and social responsibility. The results are clear: a society without self-respect, self-discipline and self-control, plagued with crimes such as rape, murder and praedial larceny. We teach our children to take what they want - and they do at gunpoint and knifepoint.

Placing the onus on a 10-year-old to carry a condom is by no means like using inoculation to stem the spread of disease. In the first place, the spread of air-, water- and insect-borne diseases are often outside of our physical control. We do not voluntarily contract these diseases.

Sex is an act that at least one party voluntarily decides to do. I refer here to the adult or adolescent rapists who force themselves on females for many reasons, including the ignorant belief that sex with a virgin cures sexually transmitted infections.

PROVIDE PROTECTION

The onus should be on providing protection for victims of statutory and other forms of rape, ensuring the males responsible receive appropriate sentences. Indeed, no 10-year-old or even 15-year-old can force attackers to wear condoms. Rape is about domination, about hurting and destroying. To intimate otherwise is to deceive the children we have sworn to protect.

With child molesters abounding, we must teach children recognition, avoidance and survival strategies. No parent should give a child a condom because he/she wants to have sex. The parent is in charge - not the other way around.

As to men with AIDS who go around infecting young girls - give them the death penalty!

If we wait, marry and remain faithful, sexually transmitted infections such as AIDS will end. The family will be strengthened and crime will decrease.

We can't advance by taking popular choices that fail to advance us. We must make the hard ones to make a difference.

The Bible's advice does protect. Self-discipline and self-control are advantageous. We could do worse than trying both.

Elaine Hope is a values advocate. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and avideducator@hotmail.com.

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