… Said 15 years old Mayowa to her mum.
What would you do if your teenage daughter comes home to give you this news? How will you react? Many girls and parents are victims of this situation. What is the cause of this, and how can it be corrected?
The rate of sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy in Nigeria continues to increase and little is being done about it. According to statistics, about 16 million girls aged 15 to 19, and about one million girls under 15 years, give birth yearly in developing countries.
Research also found out that for some teenagers, pregnancy and child bearing are planned and wanted but for many others, they are not. This means that in some part of the country, some see nothing wrong with teenage pregnancy, in fact, some cultures support it. It was also revealed that some girls do not know how to avoid being pregnant as sex education is still elitist in many regions.
Furthermore, it was also revealed that Nigerian girls easily give in to sexual advances from men, and are usually unable to refuse unwanted sex or coerced sex, which is usually unprotected. There are millions of unsafe abortions among teenage girls that parents do not know about. This leads back to the question: What are parents doing?
There is a high rate of violence, ranging from child abuse to domestic, structural and religious violence. There are many cases of much older men raping teenage girls who can’t tell anyone. This can either be because they have been threatened by their abusers, fear being blamed for perceived carelessness by parent and society, or the fear of being stigmatized.
In 2015, Temitope Adegbuyi carried out a study on the ‘Influence of parent-child communication on the sexual behaviour of female senior secondary school students…age 13-19’. Her study revealed that parents are confronted with the challenges of discussing sexual related issues with their female children and that majority of female adolescents receive information on sexual related issues from other sources such as, other relatives, internet, friends, and videos. This may lead to misinformation which put them at risk.
Women are fighting for the rights of fellow women both at the grass-root and urban levels. As well as that of the girl-child; to educate on pertinent issues confronting them. The best way to make corrections is to ensure that everyone, including men, are involved in sex education, especially the girl-child’s. This will serve as the starting point to fighting against teenage pregnancy. It will help save girls from ignorance and any form of abuse they might have been exposed to owing to ignorance. It will also rescue the girls who are not victims from becoming one.