Gone are those days when parents/guardians/teachers, religious leaders and community heads shied away from speaking about sex with their children and wards. The spate of sexual violation and abuse today has taught us to engage a more radical approach in educating our wards if we must protect them from molestation, keep their innocence intact and secure their future. Experience of victims as reported by the media everyday tells us that we must be down to earth, open, frank and willing to help our youths.
Moreso this is a very long holiday period when youths are wander about in order to kill boredom. In the process many become vulnerable and fall prey to unscrupulous elements that use them for their selfish interest and escapades.
And so, we engaged our girls on frank sexuality talk, sharing vivid stories of our temptations, peer-pressure, failures while growing up and eventual strength to deal with sexual pressures and allurement. We also informed them about all the safety measures the Lagos State government as put in place to protect the girl-child from sexual violence and abuse, including the helplines to call when they are faced with harassment from violators at home, school or in the community.
And when it was question time, the girls had a lot to say to us.
Asked to write down their takeaways at the end of the day, below are some of the lessons learnt by our amazing girls:
1. I learnt that we should not follow bad boys.
2. I learnt that we should know how to keep our body and as girls, we should know how to say NO.
3. I leant that we should not allow the challenges we face now bring us down.
4. I learnt that I have the right to protect myself and say NO to any sexual violence.
5. I learnt that we should not give ourselves so easily to boys or men.
6. I learnt that we should not go to boy’s house when we are asked to come.
7. I learnt that it is not good to tell any man that you are virgin.
8. I learnt that it is not good to rush into marriage.
9. I learnt that we should not be intimidated and not be in a hurry to have sex.
10. I learnt that we should not be in a hurry to have sex and we should not rely on any one or be intimidated by anyone.
11. I learnt that our body is our own and also that our challenges should not stop us from becoming what we want to become.
12. I learnt that we should trust no one, especially boys.
13. I learnt that my brokenness is not an excuse to fail because every challenge I face is for me to get stronger because God cannot give me challenges that I cannot surpass.
14. I learnt that we should always be strong no matter the challenges.
15. I learnt that you should never tell anybody you are a virgin and always keep yourself safe.
16. I learnt that we should speak out and don’t cover up
17. I learnt that you should put your life in God’s hands so that he may take care of you
18. I learnt that I should not be discouraged but be focused.
20. I learnt that we have to be focused and not let our background makes us a failure.
21. I learnt that we should not run after men in whatever condition we are.
22. I learnt that your broken home does not determine your future ambition or what you become in life.
23. I learnt that there is no reason or excuse for failure as no one is born or created as a failure.
24. I learnt that we should learn how to speak out no matter our challenges
25. I learnt that you should always share your problem with elders because a problem shared is a problem solved.
26. I learnt that as a young lady, we should act smart; we should always put God first in everything we are going through.