Last night our at-risk youth mentoring program decided to have a gender circle and sex-ed talk with the mentee teens. I like to consider myself sort of knowledgeable on the topic even though I'm a virgin. Definitely found out some new things I hadn't been aware of.
For starters they changed it from "Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)" to "Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)" -which I thought was stupid. Yes it covers more ground because infections aren't diseases so you can include more negative viruses and things transmitted, but it sounds less severe when you say "infections" which then undermine the diseases that are also included. To include infections you change the category to be called infections but then diseases like HIV/AIDs get downplayed when lumped in that group. Maybe that's why the program leaders actually had a separate category called HIV/AIDs so that the diseases got mentioned head on.
Also found out there's a female condom? Apparently it can be in the woman longer than a condom on a man and has some other benefits to it. Personally I think God doesn't want me to have sex anytime soon. First off -I've only had 1 boyfriend and he was a virgin too and purposely went out of his way not to do anything with me for the brief 3 months we were together. Secondly, I see mentions of rape at least 3 times a week. Between following some of the non-profits I do, recent news updates from the world, and posts on Facebook by people I know sharing horrific stories of people who made peace somehow with what happened or bad guys currently on the loose... It comes up a lot. Thirdly on the off times when it doesn't come up I then have in-person mentoring program sessions like this one that talk about diseases transmitted and girls raped as children.
After we played a game of Sex Jeopardy (which my team won), the girls were taken into one room and the guys were taken into another so gender discussions could happen. It actually started off pretty funny. The group was asked a question and each individual person had to answer.
1. What is your favorite part of being a woman?
-We're smarter and more emotionally stronger than men
-I can do masculine and feminine things and not be judged/ or mocked as harshly as a man would
-I get to look pretty
-Women are more caring and compassionate
-We get to be mothers
-Not having to pee everywhere by holding a penis like a hose
-Internal genitals so no one knows when I'm turned on and I can't be kicked in the balls
2. What is your least favorite part of being a woman?
-Having a period (listed numerous times by multiple people)
-Having to shave and wax
-Having to be beautiful all the time or think about it more than guys do
-Guys can take advantage of you and hurt you in that way
-Not as physically strong
-Not treated as equally for doing the same work as men
3. How many of you have ever had a pregnancy scare or an abortion?
-7 hands raised in a group of 30 teen girls
More questions were asked as time went on. My mentee girl only stayed for the first 20 minutes. She actually whispered to me, "What should I say?" when the question of what her favorite part of being a woman was raised. I said, "Well what's your favorite part about being a girl." She kind of shrugged like she didn't care either way. I said, "I see you take selfies all the time -obviously your beauty means something to you. You couldn't do that if you were a guy." So when it came her turn to answer she jokingly told the group, "I can take Selfie's!"
The program leaders invited in 2 women to speak in the group.
The first girl had was 21 with 3 kids. She said when she was young she had looked older and lied about her age and partied and slept around. She had her first son at age 13. The her daughter at age 16 with the same man. And her latest son when she was 19. She was still with the same guy from 7 years ago, but he constantly flirts with other girls, gets drunk, and stays out all night. She said, "I knew he was an alcoholic but I thought he would change when his daughter was born -and he did for a little while, but then just went back to his old ways."
The second girl was 18. She had gotten pregnant at 16 and married her boyfriend. They live in a small studio apartment now.
Both women don't go out anymore because no one else is around to watch their children. Neither is work and both are financially dependent upon their boyfriend/husbands. Their plan for living independently should they leave their men or their men leave them is relying on Welfare and finding a job.
I think it was kind of a big wake-up call to a lot of the girls in the group who either weren't thinking about the risk of pregnancy or were actually expecting/looking forward to being teen moms soon.
When asked, "What was your mom doing at your age?" most of the teen girls said, "Drinking, partying, working, and raising me."