Hyper-religious and partisan politics of sexual education

Hyper-religious and partisan politics of sexual education
Source: Ghana|Bernard Asubonteng
Date: 09-10-2019 Time: 10:10:59:am

Precisely five years ago around winter time in one early December, when my then eight-year old son confronted me with a “simple” question: “Dad, why do people have sex?” The question wasn’t surprising at all in that its inevitability was a given; it was just a matter of time before any inquisitively curious child puts a question of this nature in the face of his/her parents/guardians in today’s social media universe.

For me, the unsettling aspect of my son’s question/curiosity was the earliness; the timing of it; or why as a loving parent, waited relatively longer for him to hear the concept connected with “sexuality” from somewhere before taking the time to explain patiently to him everything he ought to know about “sex” at the time he threw the “sexuality bomb” at age eight.

Like many loving but overprotective and culturally-conservative Ghanaian parents, millions of us are unreasonably in denial and will defend the “innocence” of our children up to the hilt without considering other significant sociopolitical factors that can help persuade us to accept the reality that many of our kids are not “angels” as we take them to be.  

Recently, Omanhene Kwabena Asante (one of my favorite media personnel) of the Adom FM, lamently appealed to Ghanaians to stop the cultural attitudes that appear to encourage many of us to behave often like “ostriches” amidst the unfolding contemporary realities here in Ghana or around the world.

Whether we wallow in denial, pretend, believe or not believe, there are millions of children around the globe, including Ghana, who know or have heard—not from their parents—about the “mystery word” termed sex in this digital media culture. Unfortunately, there are many underage children today actively or have engaged in some form of intimate, sexual activities without their parents’ knowledge.

As a former teacher at the high/basic school level and for the past seven years as college professor in US, it is crystal clear from close observation and experience that many children know pretty much about the so-called sexuality, of which most of the awareness is self-taught and from peer-to-peer. This generation of children all over the world knows far more than the parents give them credit for.

Keep in mind the Internet/social media revolution is not under the exclusive control of the Western countries. So, in this context let’s not make any flawed argument here that the Western culture is different from Ghanaian culture; that makes American children’s behaviors different from their Ghanaian counterparts. That is true, but we also need to remember that when it comes to the social media, the whole world shares one universal culture. The 21st century media is easily accessible in almost every modern society via the tablets, phones, TVs, or computers, and the kids are not only vulnerable to its enticing social urgings, but also our children are helplessly exposed to its manipulative capabilities.

By the way, do you know the porn pictures/videos your child maybe watching by themselves or with their peers on the tablets or the phones you bought them?  

So we say, in the face of the passionate screaming and seemingly outright rejection that of the Please, enough of the unrealistic/simplistic arguments based on Ghanaian “rich culture” and the country’s deep religious beliefs or passionate screaming that often  and let no one reduce