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Empowering Young Women and Safe Sex Issues in Malaysia

Reading the news of girls (especially teenagers) getting pregnant unintentionally (as with most teens) saddens me. It hits a deep chord. Why, at such a young age, are they left without recourse and brought to a place where they don't understand the options they have, the people who will help them and what to do about their future?

Having a baby changes everything in your life. It SHOULD change everything in your life; if it doesn't, you're not doing life right.

It's been reported that 50 teenage girls get pregnant every day in Malaysia. 50 x 365 = 18,250 potential human beings on the planet. If they were born to these teens, what would become of these 18,250 girls and their babies and their future? Assuming each of these girls gave birth to one child each (as opposed to twins or triplets), that would make 36,500 people with dubious futures. And let's assume out of the 18,250 'men', 40% of the men took responsibility for their actions, that's an additional 7,300 boys/men with dubious futures.

So, 36,500 moms and kids +7,300 dads = 43,800 with uncertain futures. That's looking at the worst case scenario, of course.

But wait....what happens if the rate is the same (not better, not worse) the next year? And the next next year?

And then we lament woefully about women dumping their babies into various places including, recently, a washing machine. Most of the time, these actions are done out of fear, not knowing what else to do with a helpless, tiny human beings and the repercussions they would face when their loved ones find out.

Without throwing a blanket over the entire issue, I can only assume that most of these cases (dumping of babies) happen in rural areas or that these girls are not aware of contraception or safety precautions.

Fine, sex is a very natural part of life. It is not dirty, it is not stupid, it is not a sin. Well, when done properly (age, consent, place, etc) and with the right people, that is. But I think we need to properly educate people about planning a family and safe sex. Safe not just from disease but safe from pregnancy.

I, perhaps, am guilty of viewing parenthood with very stern stance. The same way I would view taking on a pet. I either take on a pet and give it everything I've got or I don't adopt a pet at all. The same, I either don't have kids or I have kids and give them everything I've got. Everything...until I bleed death.

Image Source: Girls Read Books

Most of these pregnancies can be prevented so, why not reach out and educate these people about safe sex, about the concept of having sex with the right people and also how to take care of yourself and sometimes, say 'no' when you don't want to do it because you are scared.

Most of these teenagers felt that, even when they feel that sex is not important to them, they do it because they want to be accepted. Or their friends are doing it, anyway, kinda thing.

We have to help them put their priorities together, bring them resources and teach them about enriching themselves and about how important they are to their own future. Most of these teens perhaps, I speculate, (correct me if I am wrong) grew up thinking that the most important thing for them is to get a man, marry and have children. Hence, the priority of enriching themselves and securing a good future takes the backseat. The important thing is to find a man and what do you do when your priority is a man? Yes. And the man will take care of your future? And your job is to have babies and take care of the family? Maybe, and maybe not. What happens when the answer is a NOT?

Someone please break their bubbles.

Do I sound cynical and jaded? Maybe I am. But hey, is Malala Yousafzai fighting a lost cause then?

TGIF, people,
Marsha
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