Twenty four-year-old Uwase had gone to the supermarket to buy condoms and no sooner had she picked a packed from the shelf, than she was bombarded with peculiar stares as she queued to clear her bill.
Several glanced her way as if she had committed a terrible crime. Coming from a liberal background, she wondered why in 2012, people still behaved like they live in the Victorian days.
“In fact the security guy at the supermarket burst out in laughter and whispered a few things to the other man he was standing with. They both looked at me and laughed so hard while the other people were also inaudibly gossiping behind my back,” she said.
Uwase is actually among the very few brave women in Rwanda who have the audacity to access contraceptives on their own without necessarily leaving this role to the men, alone.
She says that this is simply because of society’s mindset towards contraceptives. Many people still think that contraceptives are for the morally decayed in society.
One of the hardest things to do is buying contraceptives since people are afraid that once they try to access these they will be looked at as immorally decayed in society.
There are so many myths about contraceptives, which is most definitely one of the reasons why some people are still afraid of using them.
I must admit that I am one of those many people who grew up thinking that contraceptives make one barren; this is what I was hearing all my life and so I believed it. This all goes back to the cultural perceptions we hold as a society. Additionally, many people in society think that other contraceptives besides condoms make women fat yet, most of them want to maintain a petite size.
These misconceived ideas limit contraceptive use—a factor that puts many lives at risk. With HIV still lingering in our society, some people would rather risk their lives and have unprotected sex with someone they hardly know than be seen buying condoms over the counter. It’s ironic that the same society that rebukes them for buying contraceptives over the counter, will not hesitate to stigmatise them when they are suffering from HIV.
Appallingly, with all the contraception methods available at almost no cost, we still have people producing over 10 children. Well, I am not exactly condemning those who produce many children but at least they should wealthy enough to take of them.
If people, especially women, choose to believe all the erroneous beliefs that society holds, they might as well want to remember that at the end of the day, they alone will have to deal with the resulting consequences.
Seeking medical advice on contraceptive use is the best way to know whether you should use them or not, or which ones suit you best or not.