Sexual violence: NGO harps on massive awareness
The Dora-Care Behavioural Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, has called for massive education and public enlightenment campaign on sexual violence and reproductive health to enable teenagers make right decisions.
The Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Mrs. Titilayo Bamidele, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
Bamidele said the campaign would help parents and community leaders in protecting the teenagers, particularly girls against early pregnancy so as not to jeopardise their future.
She said it would enhance their knowledge on the dangers of unprotected sex which leads to unwanted pregnancy, transmission of diseases, stigma and unsafe abortion.
Bamidele added that teenagers needed right education and information about sexual and reproductive health to make right decisions; know how to protect themselves from sexual violence and teenage pregnancy.
According to her, exposing the girl child to early sex education will adequately prepare and equip her to deal with sex challenges while growing up.
Bamidele explained that the causes of teenage pregnancy were lack of access to sexual and reproductive health education and services.
She said: “Girls who have received low amount of education are five times more likely to become early/teenage mothers than those with higher levels of education.
“According to the National Health Service, 7.3 million girls become pregnant before the age of 18 each year worldwide.
“We have more numbers of teenage pregnancy nowadays because most of them are ignorance.
“Teenage pregnancy increases when girls are denied the right to make decisions about their sexual health and well-being.
“Child marriage is a key factor of teenage pregnancy; approximately 90 per cent of births by teenage mothers in developing countries occur before marriage.”
Bamidele urged both federal and state governments to improve judicial systems to fast track all cases in court regarding sexual assault or violence, rape and other gender-based violence.
She, therefore, called for an introduction of comprehensive sexual education to schools curriculum.
“We need government intervention and support by creating more awareness and public enlightenment on sexual violence and teenage pregnancy.
“This is because information and education are necessary to reduce the risk of abortion and other sexual and reproductive health problems that occur among teenagers.
“Every sexual education you give to teenagers will reduce the number of teenage pregnancy.
“Parents should also be free with their children by educating them on abstinence from any sexual activities,” she said.