Abstinence is a word many Nigerian youths cannot bear to hear, not to talk of adopting. They do not feel self-fulfilled or complete until they’ve had one sexual relationship or the other. But if you think that every Nigerian youth is having sex, I am sorry to disappoint-there are many who are not. I am one of those who have made this choice and I am proud of it.
Like many other young people of my age, I have always wanted to assert my independence, to show that I am capable of making my own decisions. Nonetheless, I am also aware that I can be very gullible, sometimes being swayed by what by what my friends think and say.
I remember vividly, the night during one of our holidays, when my mum told me she needed to talk to me. I couldn’t imagine what on earth she would want to talk about in the night, until she started the discussion about boyfriends and the consequences of having initiative/sexual relationships with the opposite sex.
By the time she was through, I was so embarrassed that if I were fair skinned, I would have turned pink. But I soon become accustomed to her nightly discussions, especially since my reluctance to contribute did not dissuade her from talking. In fact, after a while, I started finding the discourse interesting, and every time I’m tempted to do anything stupid, I remember my mum’s words and reflect on them. I tell myself that my education is my major priority for now. The constant dialogue between my mum and I has helped me a lot with holding myself whenever I’m confronted with tough decisions about engaging in sexual activity or any of other pressures we young people face.
I remember a particular instance while gisting with someone of my schoolmates and then we started talking about ‘toasting’ and having boyfriends. Along the line, someone asked a question which someone asked a question which shocked me so much, that I wasn’t even able to utter a word. Noticing my shock, the question was now directed at me, asking me if I’d ever been “French Kissed”. When I answered in the negative, they all started laughing at me, calling me a small girl. Someone even asked that how could be in SS1, and 14 years old and never have been French-Kissed. She said I did not “recognize” and needed to “grow up” fast. After that incident, I became confused and did not know who to believe-my mum or friends.
When my mum came to see me during the following school visiting day, I told her about the incident and how my friends were laughing at me. She assured me that there was no cause for alarm, and if it was true that they had really been kissed before, then they had probably been involved in at least a sexual relationship, because one thing leads to the other. She also reminded me of the problems that come with intercourse at my age.
Of course, if a young person gets pregnant, it would not necessarily kill her because it is not a disease, but I know that if I ever get pregnant, I would have to drop out of school, because there will be no termination of the pregnancy for me, since my parents would never allow it . I will also not have a family, because I will be disowned (as I’ve already been told by my father). Therefore, pregnancy and abortion is out of the question. I know that I can contract the HIV virus, which eventually kills, and because I love myself so much and I don’t want to die early, I have decided to remain abstinent for now. This is the only way I can remain confident and free.
By Ajibike Fowowe
Ex-student Federal Government Girls College, Oyo