The above statement was a caption below a photograph in a write up regarding education of girls in one of the recent issues of The New Times. I would like to ask the same question in another context.
Recently, a high school student was brought to hospital complaining of pains and aches. A pregnancy test was done which turned out to be positive. The young girl had been pregnant, attempted abortion and kept this as a secret till no more.
Unfortunately, the girl died 24 later due to septic abortion. For the hospital, it was an addition to the statistics of death but for the family, it was a permanent loss. Her life had ended prematurely, in her prime, just because of a few minutes of pleasure.
This is not an isolated case. Many times, high school students come to hospital complaining of vomiting, uneasiness and are later found to be pregnant which they deny.
Little do they realize that the hospital or doctors do not lose anything by their pregnant state but, it is their precious time and even life, which is being wasted by this untimely pregnancy?
Whenever I see this, I ask what the young girls are up to. They are sent to school to get a good education and make a good career and life. Parents cut short their own needs to provide this to them. They also ensure that they do not lack in any of the basic needs like food and clothes. But these youngsters, on getting some liberty go around experimenting with sex at school.
This happens worldwide. In the past, free mixing of the two sexes was not allowed in any society and even talking about sex was taboo.
Later, the theory of Sigmund Freud, a psychologist gained acceptability. The theory says that all mental tension and physical problems were due to suppressing the urge for sex and hence, this inhibition should be removed.
As the stigma associated with sex was removed, promiscuity and premarital sex became prevalent. But whether the tensions were released or not, a whole set of new complications have started with this attitude.
Other societies of the world also started copying the same. But what has been achieved with this, “free sex?” Indiscriminate sexual affairs lead to increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, emergence and spread of the deadly HIV/Aids.
Because of the peculiar anatomy of the female genital tract, women are more susceptible to develop these maladies. These diseases can lead to salpingitis, i.e. inflammation of the fallopian tubes which is one of the causes for infertility.
It is well known that infertility is a big stigma and mental torture for any woman. Pelvic inflammatory disease and other infections of the genital tract cause chronic pain in the lower abdomen and back. Recurrent chronic infections of the genital tract can cause malignancy of the vagina or cervix in later age.
If one becomes pregnant and gets it aborted, it is a sin by religion and crime by law. Besides, abortion carries the risk of inducing pelvic inflammation, salpingitis, genital injury, prolapsed uterus and even septic shock and death. More unskilled the person and cruder the technique used for inducing abortion (as one often resorts to), the higher is the risk of these complications.
The problems arising out of casual affairs are not related to health alone. If the pregnancy is continued, then the girl is burdened with a liability at the time of pursuing studies. Babies coming due to unwanted pregnancies are mostly unwelcome.
In many cases, the boy friend simply walks out of the affair, washing his hands of all responsibilities. If he does marry the girl, the marriage may not turn out to be a very happy. The boys will say, “If she slept with me without any hesitation before marriage, she must have done it with other men and she can still do it.” The result is marital conflicts and even separation.
If an adolescent or teenage girl reads, “Shh! Are you alone?” a fiction by Richard Peck (It aptly describes the suffering and humiliation of a young girl due to liberal attitude towards sex), one will know that even in America, which boasts of a very free society, consequences of being “liberal” are not pleasant.
Times may change but the human mind remains the same. Virginity and chastity are still highly regarded. Any eligible bachelor may have fun all around but for marriage, he seeks a virgin. Sex is a natural instinct which comes with age due to secretion of appropriate hormones in all living creatures.
Therefore, it should be known by all young persons that having sex is not something great or an achievement in anyway in life. School time is for achieving something worthwhile in life and hence, should not be wasted in such frivolous activities. Time and opportunity for sex will always be there in life later, but time for learning never comes back.
So, instead of wasting time flirting with boys, young girls should try to focus on their studies and their future career. Leisure time should be spent in expanding knowledge and skills. To keep good physical and mental health, retaining self respect and ensuring a good life in future, one should remove sex and casual affairs from their school schedule.
The writer is a medical doctor at Ruhengeri Provincial Hospital and can be reached at this e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org