VAL’S DAY: LET’S CELEBERATE WITH CAUTION!
In recent times, a number of female friends has asked me why some men often demand for sex in relationships before marriage. According to these ladies, refusal to give in often resulted in break-ups. Interestingly, some ladies have again stated that they had sex with their dudes as a proof of their love for them. Some guys also would often turn-up, proudly showing off with the number of ladies they’ve had sex with. As a young person, I wouldn’t be in a better position to give expert answers to this question or situations, but to discuss their relevance to the welfare of the youth.
During this Valentine’s season, I wonder the number of girls being pressured by their boyfriends for sex, and of course, those who would willingly allow sex just to maintain relationships. In previous celebrations of Val’s Day, rather unfortunate incidences were alleged to have been done: excessive alcohol intake, reckless driving, just to mention but a few. Again, media reports revealed how some beaches got ‘flooded’ with used condoms after such celebrations.
It is a good thing to show each other love and warmth, particularly on special occasions like Val’s Day. Buying loved ones hampers, Cards and passing time out somewhere makes the day worthwhile. But then, the way and manner in which some youngsters behave on Days like Valentine’s is quite worrying. A wrong impression is gradually being created that Val’s day is a ‘must have sex’ period, especially among the youth. Even though I don’t fancy sex (before marriage) among young people, I feel the use of condoms puts those who can’t abstain in a safer position. But those who engage in unprotected sex stand a high risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections. Suffering and stigmatization, as end results, become burdens for their respective families. Nations and communities lose great human resource as well.
The inexorable ladies become obedient and often join their parents in the kitchen after impregnated. Education usually ends there for most of them. Increase in teenage pregnancy, leading to school dropouts and somehow infant and maternal mortality could be a threat to Ghana’s(and other African Countries) efforts in achieving some key targets under goals 2, 4 and 5 of the Millennium Development Goals. These goals aim to achieve Universal Basic Education, reduce Infant mortality and promote maternal health respectively by 2015.
Not too long ago, the Government of Ghana made an effort to promote Ghana’s cocoa and its related products on Valentine’s Day. This was a laudable idea which could have promoted Ghanaian cocoa and to some extent, help the economy. Chocolate Day as it became known has rather received little publicity, especially this year. It will be prudent for stakeholders to reconsider promoting Ghana’s chocolate and other cocoa products on this day.
Young people are leaders of today and the days yet to come. We ought to be actively involved in the development process leading to tomorrow. Remember that just one extreme enjoyment on Val’s Day may be the end of the road for you in attaining your goals. Developing Nations, I believe, can’t afford to lose the quality of their youth.
I suggest we intensify Adolescent, Sexual and Reproductive health education, especially in the media and schools. We need to understand better our sexuality, so as to take firm and informed decisions. Counseling Units and Youth-friendly centres should be improved or established with personnel with requisite skills in counseling and sensitization on sexual and reproductive health issues.
Val’s Day is a moment of love, and therefore, I wish you a happy Valentine. However, if it must be done, it must be done well. “A stitch in time saves nine”.