Ever had a case where you have lost a huge sum of money, but something inside keeps telling you that you did not lose the money, you just misplaced it somewhere? You search and search but to no avail. Still you keep telling yourself that you didn’t lose the money, even when years have passed? That is denial and I feel that’s the state our country is in now, especially on issues of sexual and reproductive health.
We are denying that the times have changed; abstinence and being faithful are not working for this generation anymore. Instead of making Condoms and contraceptives the new gospel, we keep on preaching Abstinence and being faithful which has failed us over and over again
We deny that children are becoming sexually active at an early age than the past generation. What did we expect with the proliferation of pornography? And the sexual content related adverts? The unintended consequences of adverts about condoms and safe sex being that the children are becoming more inquisitive about sexual intercourse and hence leading to more premarital sex.
The increase in teenage pregnancies is a clear indication that they are indulging in unprotected sex. To avoid embarrassing their “puritanical” parents most of these teenagers are opting for unsafe abortions. Yet as a nation we are still denying what the statistics are showing us. The end result being that many teens are dying each year for illegal abortions.
We are in denial that prostitution exists in our country and hence it’s still illegal in Malawi, when legalizing it would have made it easier for the government to manage their trade and for NGOs to intervene in various ways including HIV prevention strategies. This would have protected them from the many abuses they face .Through civic education we might have been able to help them make informed choices about other career prospects and even curb the spread of HIV.
By refusing to legalize their trade we have put them at the mercy of abusers. The most pitiful thing being that they are even abused by the police. Yes, the same police who are meant to protect the laws of this land.
We deny that we have homosexuals in Malawi when the act is rampant in our prisons. And what basis do we use to back ourselves up? That we are a predominantly Christian or a religious country? Really? Why did being a predominantly Christian or religious country not stop Cashgate from happening? You mean those involved in Cashgate were non Christians? There is a very big difference between being religious and being God. God is the one to judge them not us.
The “holier than thou” stance we have taken over these issues is putting the lives of many at risk of contracting HIV. It has led to the loss of lives through unsafe abortions. If we are to win the battle against HIV and to avoid deaths from unsafe abortions; it’s high time we changed our approaches.
Otherwise denial won’t take the problems away. And fighting using strategies that don’t work anymore is like trying to fight Ebola with malaria medicine. You can’t win.
It’s time to accept that whatever moral stance we used to boost of is now gone. “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold,” forever.