Wednesday, July 29, 2009

underage sex

I’m afraid this is probably going to come across as another of my “what-is-becoming-of our-society?” rants – so please accept my apologies in advance (Moira’s not too impressed either!). Young teenagers these days certainly know a lot more about sex than ever I did at the same age. Schools now provide a wealth of practical information and advice through their PSE (Personal+Social Education) lessons. In my day(!), school provided absolutely nothing and “everything” was learnt from peers and parents (not much of the latter in my own case) and, clearly, this wasn’t very satisfactory. I’m well aware that times change, but what I find so depressing is that I think children are now ALMOST given the impression that there’s nothing wrong with having sex when they’re 13 or 14 (there almost seems to be an acceptance that this will be the case). I’ve come across instances of parents accepting that their YOUNG teenage children will be having sex and their only concerns seem to be a) that the couple should take the necessary precautions and b) that they “shouldn’t do it in our house”. In my own experience at school, I’m certainly also aware of two recent instances where boys saw it as their “right” to have sex with their girlfriends whenever they felt like it and were either physically violent or used threats of violence to get their way.
It shouldn’t be like this.
We seem to have lost our way when it comes to standards of morality and individual values and there is a desperate need to redress the balance.
In trying to track down John Ware’s “Death of Respect” series on BBC iPlayer, I came across two programmes on BBC3 (I never normally watch anything on BBC3!) which appeared to underline my concerns. The first was called “Underage and Pregnant” and described itself as a “series which goes behind the sensational headlines to discover what it is really like to be underage and pregnant”. It dealt with the lives of two teenage twin girls; the first became pregnant she was 14 and the second became pregnant at 15. The other programme was called: “Pregnancy: My Big Decision” and followed “two teenage girls who are on the brink of making a big decision. Separated by age, culture and geography, but sharing the same all-consuming desire to have a baby, the girls go on a very personal journey of self discovery. But they are not going on their own - they are taking their Mums and Grans with them”. One of the girls is 14 and the other is 16 (the latter lost her virginity at 13).
I think both programmes are intended to be educational and, in many ways, they are. At the same time, however, they almost seem to take pleasure in making celebrities of these children (and what parents would be happy for their children to participate in such programmes for goodness sake?).
Here are some quotes from the programmes:
“Pregnancy is seen as a bit of a fashion accessory… at our school, there are at least 13 or 14 girls who are or have been pregnant or had a termination or have miscarried”.
“I just couldn’t be bothered to work when I’m older”.
“In Devon, 1 in 20 new Mums are teenagers”.
PS: Right, rant over. I’ll try to remain positive from now on (… if only this rain would stop!).

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