Measures To Curb Uncontrolled Teenage Sex

STATEMENT AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE MOHS-SAVE THE CHILDREN “NO SEX FOR GRADE” CAMPAIGN HELD AT THE ATLANTIC HALL, NATIONAL STADIUM IN FREETOWN

Chairperson, representatives from MOHS, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Adfai8rs, other line ministries, representatives from the UN families, Teachers, parents, pupils, members of the fourth estate, distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

FODAY SAWI

Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister 1, Foday Sawi Lahai

I would like to welcome you once again to this important occasion and to profusely thank all of you for making time to come.

I will also like to relay the good wishes of the minister of health and sanitation for the success of this launching programme and to extend his hearty greetings. He would have very much loved to be hear but for the exigencies of duties. But he would like us to know that he is with us in spirit.

We are gathered here today in our continued quest to look for ways to tackle the problem of sexual exploit among teenage girls. This problem has become a serious phenomenon especially among school going children and therefore as nation, and as a government in particular urgent attention is required to generate concrete solutions if we are to redeem our girl child population from becoming social and economic burdens on their families, communities and the nation at large. Uncontrolled teenage sex has wide ranging consequences on the young girl. These include teenage pregnancy, health complications, skewed self-esteem, poor educational achievement, damaged confidence, poor economic advancement, social entanglement and many more.

Unfortunately as we become more and more “advanced” or “civilized” more and more people gained more and more freedom to live the way they like and this is not helping our fight against teenage sex. This may explain why hundreds of our school girls get pregnant and dropout of school.

Chairman, tackling the problem of teenage sex does not have any easy solutions and this is exacerbated by social and economic shocks that our country has had to be subjected to. Such disasters included the ten year war, and the recently violent Ebola epidemic.

This is why the government of his Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma has brought together all relevant stakeholders to join their skills, knowledge, experience, and resources to tackle this obnoxious problem of teenage sex. As a result, this consortium comprising of government and all its partners are exploring every possible avenue to checkmate the problem and put it under serious control. This gathering is a vindication of that fact.

Both on the Part of the young girl victim and the predatory boys and men, teenage sex is born out of the desire to respond to physiological needs, acquire social acceptance, respond to peer pressure, desire to acquire something “money or grade or something else”, adventurism {desire to experience} and many more. But the consequences for the poor teenage girl is disastrous, and devastating and except for few who may be lucky to escape, recover, and catch up the majority of young girls are subjected to very far reaching consequences.

Specifically, we are gathered here today to draw attention and to set in motion massive awareness raising machinery on one of the major causes of teenage sex in schools and institutions of learning, SEX FOR GRADE. This is the sex transaction between the young teenage girl in school and the teacher who is supposed to provide academic and morale guidance for the young inexperienced girl.

When a male teacher, who has his morale standards disrupted and has high sex drive decides to take advantage of his very powerful position and influence over a young girl who is academically weak or lazy at her school work, and yet wants to pass all her subjects in the exams this presents a very dangerous situation for the girl, her parents, the school, the community and the nation at large.

One of the most immediate and visible consequences for the teenage girl is pregnancy which is commo9nly designated teenage pregnancy. While in most cases the teacher goes scot free, the girl is left to bear the consequences. As an immediate after effect the young girl’s education is disrupted. There are a few who recover, and catch up socially and academically and go on to achieve to their fullest potentials.

However, many young girls victims of teenage sex never recover from the disruption of their studies either because some very strict parents refuse to continue to pay fees for their GIRL MOTHER or the girl could not sum up the courage to continue after she gives birth. According to the UNICEF Survey in 2008, the ultimate pregnancy fof young girls is ranked as the third most common reason for the to drop out of school. Some even become a child producing factory with all its consequenci8es on herself, the family, the community and the country at large. This study also showed that about 34 percent of pregnancy occurs among the teenage girls.

Additionally early sex could have enormous health implications on the young girl. A teenage girl who gets involved in sex before she is fully physiologically and emotionally ready could lead to various health implications. The outcome of pregnancy for some could be a very bitter experience due to immature development of the pelvis. There are those who develop obstetric complications such as obstructed labor which requires caesarian sections. If immediate action is not taken further, complications such as obstetric fistula may occur.

Uncontrolled teenage sex can lead to damage of the genital and reproductive o9rgans and tissues and other serious complications. Of course if intercourse takes place without condoms it can lead to pregnancy and sexually transmitt3ed infections such as HIV AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases. But that is not all the health implications. Teenage sex could lead to emotional distress, lack of confidence and low self- esteem.

Mr. Chairman, a recent systematic review found out that adolescent pregnancy has been associated with premature delivery, still birth, foetal distress low birth weight and miscarriage. A WHO Report (2002) indicated that still births and deaths in the first week of life are 50 percent higher among babies born to younger than 20 years than among babies 20 to 29 years.

Having sex for grades has current and future impact on the education and job opportunities for those who get engaged into it. Some girls may get lucky or smart and never get pregnant. They may continue and become very good at it until they finish primary school, secondary school and perfect it in the university. For those their ability to cope with work after finishing college could be very challenging. These are the women who enter the workforce with big qualifications but cannot perform even the smallest of tasks.

But what is at stake for the teacher who knowingly interferes with a young girl that he is suppose to protect and nurture to reach her fullest God-giving potentials. According to the New Law, titled SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT 2012, “— No person below the age of 18 years can give consent to sexual intercourse: And consent will not be accepted in the court of  law as defence in cases of alleged offences against under age persons..” Therefore teachers and lectures in the habit of exchanging passing grades for sex from young girls desist henceforth as the new ACT prescribes a penalty of Le10, 000, 000 or one year jail term on conviction.

So why is the government launching a new campaign against sex for grades. This campaign will seek to empower girls with information to enable them to make informed choices and decisions about sex and reproductive health. Government and its partners would like girls to know about the consequences of reckless sex upon their own lives, including their health, education., social status, economic achievement and their overall future.

They need to know that there is a Law now protecting them from imposed sex from their teachers in classroom. They need to be made to see the dignity, honour and expanded future in working hard to study and pass their exams genuinely than to sell their bodies and destroy their young body parts for grades. They need to know that the security of their future as wives and employees lies in getting serious with their early life rather than misusing their God-giving life insurance.

The parents need to be made more aware that sex for grades is a reality in the schools so that they could provide protection for their young daughters. Therefore they should do all in their power to discourage their girls from getting involved in this sex for grade business.

The People should know that if we do nothing, it is us who shall bear the ultimate consequences. We should know that our tax revenue will be used to pay for their bad choices and decision by maintaining and up keeping them in their later years.

Therefore as we formally launched this campaign today we would like to encourage all stakeholders to find a role for themselves in this campaign and get fully engaged.

Delivered by

Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 1 Foday Sawi Lahai

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Categories: Human interest, Sierra Leone, Women

Tags: , , ,

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