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In the full circle by Oghenewoke Atariata

Adolescent health is of immense importance to the general population. The level of health education amongst this age demography ranging from 10 – 18 is crucial to having safe and satisfactory sexual health. So that brings us to the question, what are the sources of health education for adolescents?

As technology and information dissemination improved over the years, the media has become an essential part of our lives. And with just a click of a button, some random person can put up information that can be consumed, without any form of fact check or verification of author credibility. If the news appeals to your better nature and is trendy, it becomes the news. But it is time we rethink how we use these powerful tools at our disposal. There is the need to let the experts do their job in their area of expertise.

Media is a major source of information to young people; studies show that the same is true for adolescents. But there are ramifications to our actions, and this is a call to self-consciousness to examine what we put out there, because like it or not, we are all stakeholders in adolescents’ health education. Regardless of what part we play, we may have positively or negatively, passively or actively played a role in adolescent health. Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp status, Instagram, etc., are some of the popular social media networks through which adolescents get their information, and this increases the danger of misinformation.

Some common myths around sexual and reproductive health include: sex cures dysmenorrhea, sexual activity helps enhance body shape and beauty, pregnancy cannot occur during menstruation, lack of sexual activity affect sperm production, lack of sexual activity results in waist and back pain, no one gets pregnant the first time they have sex, only vaginal sex is sex, etc. These are some of the lies told to coarse gullible adolescents into sexual activities that may result in unintended pregnancy and contracting STIs. In other instances, these myths can affect; personal hygiene, psychological health, and physical health with long-term morbidity effects such as infertility, adopted risky sexual behavior, and in worst cases, death.

Ignorance can indeed prove costly to the ignorant. And we do not have enough conversation around the damages that can occur through incomplete or misconstrued information. The effect is like a cascade that will continue to spiral till we eventually forget how it came about to begin. Whichever way you look at it, knowledge is still power; there will always be some impact. And to this end, it is imperative: to verify the information and the credentials of the author before we spread them, support the works of well-meaning community-based organizations to provide accurate information for adolescents, and scrutinize the contents we like, share, or upload on our social media handles. You are possibly educating someone passively or actively.

You just never know.

ADVOCACY

DAY 2 OF 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM; WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS

#BelieveSurvivors

Every time a woman makes an accusation of abuse or harassment, there is an alarming number of people who immediately question her motives. Why?

As few as one in five victims report their sexual assault, so they often don’t get the help they need and without a report, law enforcement misses the chance to identify perpetrators in their community, repeat offenders go undetected, and more people are victimized. (https://www.startbybelieving.org/home/)

Speaking up is not easy. Doing so means allowing people to pick apart how “perfect” a victim you are.

It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially if they are a friend or family member. 

For a survivor, disclosing to someone they care about can be very difficult, so we encourage you to be as supportive and non-judgemental as possible.

@rainn recently shared steps to support survivors of domestic violence

  • Remind them; you are not alone
  • Ask about their current safety
  • Respect their decisions
  • Help with safety planning
  • Have resources handy

Other Articles/Resources you should read

https://www.rainn.org/articles/tips-talking-survivors-sexual-assault

ADVOCACY

DAY 1 OF 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM; WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS

RAISE AWARENESS OF THE DANGERS OF HARMFUL TRADITIONS, CHILD MARRIAGE, FGM, CHALLENGE RAPE CULTURE etc 

The international community has become aware of the need to achieve equality between the sexes and of the fact that an equitable society cannot be attained if the fundamental human rights of half of human society, i.e. women, continue to be denied and violated.

 However, the bleak reality is that harmful traditional practices have been performed for male benefit. Female sexual control by men, and the economic and political subordination of women, perpetuate the inferior status of women and inhibit structural and attitudinal changes necessary to eliminate gender inequality. 

Despite the apparent slowness of action to challenge and eliminate harmful traditional practices, the activities of human rights bodies in this field have, in recent years, resulting in noticeable progress.

Join communities all over the world and raise awareness on practices such as

FGM, Early marriage, Female infanticide, nutritional taboos, breast ironing etc.

Tell your own story,

Join global campaigns

Participate in interventions

Volunteer your skills

Do all you can to put an end to barbaric acts society has termed normal.

Credits: Fact Sheet No.23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children