I was 10 when I first found out about sex, but it was when I first got my period that my parents talked to me about it. When it happened, I told my mom; she gave me a pad and told me, “Be careful! You can now get pregnant!” She merely told me that having a period meant I could have babies.
It seems that most of my friends never got a sex talk. In the fifth grade, parents were asked to opt their children in or out of a sex education unit in school. Most parents opted in. In hind sight, I’ve realized that my parents and the other parents probably thought they’d done their job by allowing us to sit in the class. For that reason, I never got a formal talk about sex. Even in my adulthood, sex and reproductive health are still a bit taboo.
Since being a SHE (Sexual Health Educator) during my time at Wellesley, I’ve become a lot more comfortable talking about sex. Now that I have a daughter of my own, I plan to be very honest and truthful with her (and my future children) once the time comes. It’s amazing how many adults are completely misinformed. Knowledge is power and I want my children to be empowered to make the best decisions for themselves.
– Raissa, 25, New York by way of Côte d’Ivoire
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Nilikuwa na umri wa miaka 10 niliposikia kuhusu ngono mara ya kwanza, lakini wazazi wangu hawakuizungumzia mpaka nilipovunja ungo. Nilipoona siku zangu kwa mara ya kwanza, nilimwambia mama yangu; alinipa pedi na kuniambia, “Kuwa makini! Sasa unaweza kushika mimba!”Aliniambia tu kuwa kupata hedhi inamaanisha ningeweza kubeba mimba.
Inaonekana kuwa wenzangu wengi hawakufundishwa moja kwa moja kuhusu ngono na afya ya uzazi. Nilipokuwa darasa la tano, wazazi walitakiwa kutoa ruhusa wanao wafundishwe shuleni. Wazazi wengi walikubali. Kuangalia nyuma sasa, nimetambua kuwa wazazi wangu (na wazazi wengine) labda waliona kazi yao imeishia hapo kwenye kutoa hiyo ruhusa. Kwa sababu hiyo, sikufundishwa rasmi kuhusu hayo masuala. Hata hivi sasa nilivyo mtu mzima, bado ni mwiko kuyaongelea.
Tangu nilipokuwa mfundishaji wa afya ya uzazi — yaani Sexual Health Educator (SHE) –kipindi niko chuoni Wellesley, nimekuwa huru zaidi kuzungumzia haya masuala. Sasa nina binti yangu mwenyewe, na ninanuia kuwa mkweli na kuongea naye (na wanangu wengine nikiwapata) kwa uwazi kabisa wakati ukifika. Inashangaza ni watu wazima wangapi wana ufahamu potofu kuhusu haya mambo. Elimu ni nguvu, na ninataka watoto wangu wawezeshwe kujifanyia maamuzi bora.
– Raissa, 25, New York kupitia Côte d’Ivoire
(Nenda hapa kuchangia simulizi yako!)