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Human role in Fertility paradox-Sex education Empowerment for rural young girls

Jane married at the age of 16years. she had not had her menses, and given that sex and sexuality matters were a taboo to discuss, she married the love of her life and two years down the line she was not conceiving.during the third year, she had her menses. her in laws were up in arms protesting that she was not bearing children for their brother. so the organized the herbalist to massage her stomach and give her the herbs so that she can conceive. given that she was having her periods the time she visited the herbalist, she was given concoctions to drink and go after 13 days. she was given clear instructions on how to dress ; go without an under pant of petticoat. and conduct herself when with her husband for those two weeks(no sexual intercourse). on the 14th day , Jane went to see the herbalist and she had observed all the instructions as was given during the last visit.

As soon as she arrived she was given more instructions by the herbalist. she was told to say yes to all she would be told so that the herbs she will be given will work on her so that she can conceive. mark you, she had had her first menses and her body was now mature. remember her ovulation cycle as I tell you the rest of the story. the herbalist tells her to undress so he could check the breast, and remember, she was told never to say no. Desperate to have a child and not knowing what would befall her she undressed and the herbalist told her the breasts were ok. she was told to pull up her top an remain with her skirt. that she did. the herbalist massaged her stomach and told her that her womb was warm and there is no reason for her not to have children. the biggest test came when he told her that he has to check the lower abdomen and the pelvic area. remember she was not to say no. so she gave in and the herbalist nodded that she was ok.He was now going to finish attending to her. This one was hard. again Jane needed a child but what she was asked was too much. she was asked to close her eyes and put her legs apart of final examination. she was hesitant but she remembered she was told if she said no, she would not have a child with her husband. so she opened her legs, pulled up her skirt and the herbalist was gental with her at first; asking her if she felt any pain whenever he touched her. she said no, and finally he pulled down his pants and forced himself into her young body. He convinced her that that was the cure for her problem. And since she was not allowed to say no, she was confused. she wanted to scream, but the man was too strong, and when the herbalist was sexually satisfied, he told her that he had seen her with a child in the coming nine months.....

More instructions were given to her. to take the herbs twice a day and have sex with her husband whenever he wanted, and visit every month to the herbalist's den, and never to give details of what happened on the first day.

Jane missed her second month menses and later started having morning sickness. she was told she will have a child, that bit made her happy, but the how of it was all questionable, disappointing dehumanizing and all wrong. The herbalist had impregnated her! she continually visited the herbalist to top up her concoctions until the 8th month when she was unable to walk.

she had a bouncing baby boy when time of delivery reached, but with a lot of unanswered questions on her mind. worse still she was infected with HIV/AIDS. she narrated this story with tears rolling down her cheeks.

I wish to tell leaders that communities need more awareness and sensitization on community education on sex and sexuality. they need empowerment on safe maternal and child health and more so on HIV prevention in communities especially to demystify cultural practices that make young girls vulnerable.

we all need to stand in solidarity with young rural girls who are exploited day in day out. they need to be helped to access information and understand women growth and development so that they can not be exploited by selfish men who pretend to help solve their marital problems. we also need to educate the girls on better ways of inquiring into the problems related to fertility and marriage.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

akaneko's picture

Dear EK, Thank you so much

Dear EK,

Thank you so much for your journal entry. As unbelievably heartbreaking as this story is, I think it's so important that women like you use your voice to educate the world about these tragic issues. Sex education and maternal health information is so crucial to making sure that incidents like this one aren't allowed to happen again. I would love to hear any of your ideas on what it will take to better educate women and men about these issues. Again, thank you for having the strength to speak out about these difficult topics.

Alison

cassie_levy's picture

This is a truly a

This is truly a heartbreaking story. Thank you for sharing this. Who is this girl and how do you know this story? I am so glad to see your solutions and particularly like this statement: "we all need to stand in solidarity with young rural girls who are exploited day in day out. they need to be helped to access information and understand women growth and development so that they can not be exploited by selfish men who pretend to help solve their marital problems. we also need to educate the girls on better ways of inquiring into the problems related to fertility and marriage." Keep up the good work!

cal1086's picture

Thank You

It is heart-wrenching to know that anyone would take advantage of someone in such a way. Jane is so brave and courageous to have shared her story. I pray that girls and women, especially in areas where resources and information are scarce, will have opportunities that will instill in them the ability to say "NO!", making decisions that are in favor of their health and well-being.

Cultural norms can be damaging, but sharing stories of cruel, unjust treatment can unite and empower.

Thank you so much for sharing this.

-Cal

edelgros's picture

Thank-you so much for sharing

Thank-you so much for sharing this truly heartbreaking story with the world. You are absolutely right that woman and girls deserve and need to understand their own bodies and how they work. In addition to teaching our daughters how to know when they are being exploited, we need to teach our sons not to do such evil acts.

Your profile says you are a pastor and work in a hospital- I hope then that this is how you met Jane and that she is now getting the help she needs both for herself and her baby. She is so lucky to have met you!

Liz

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