What you need to know:
To many families, teenage pregnancies are the salt that was added to the wound that has been the Covid-19 global pandemic.
The high number of school girls staring at a bleak future after heart-rending defilement by people who should protect them from sex predators remains an eyesore in a country with a punitive Sexual Offences Act.
But while the accusing finger is continually pointed at philandering adults, our society has ignored the role of culture in aggravating the situation.
Most communities initiate boys into adulthood through circumcision. At these ritual ceremonies, initiates are taught to view girls and women as “mboga” (euphemism for sexual objects). After induction into adulthood, they go into a fornication spree, seeking intimacy with any teenage girl in sight, engaging in illicit unions where the use of condoms remains an alien concept.
In some communities, boys who do not have sexual relationships are chided as having dysfunctional organs, forcing them to pull out all stops to acquire a partner. Parents view their daughters as a source of wealth, to be married off as soon as possible to cattle-rich old men.
These cultural practices demean girls and women, depriving them of the golden opportunity to pursue their education and talents.
However, latter-day gender activists have turned the discourse into a men-versus-women battle. They conveniently ‘forget’ there are hundreds of women who contribute to the subjugation of girls through strict adherence to repugnant traditional beliefs.
Nobody should issue a blanket condemnation of men when we are well aware that thousands of them toil and sweat to secure a bright future for their daughters and sisters.
This scourge will only be surmounted when approached with sobriety and acceptance that all of us are responsible by omission and commission.
Joab Apollo, Uasin Gishu
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I blame the teenagers and their parents or guardians for the increased teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and illegal abortions. Although we all are entitled to our opinions and choices, including embracing the “my dress, my choice “fad, choices have consequences.
The seductive miniskirts worn by our girls makes them easy targets by sex predators, who presume that she is on “hunt” mode. The innocent girl is then incessantly pursued, even by rapists.
Dr Martin Luther King, Jnr. said, “The society is not bad because of the evil deeds of the bad people but rather the silence of the good people”.
We all have a moral obligation to end the curse of teenage pregnancy.
Joseph W. Gichuka, Nairobi