I have waited ten days since the Condom for Kids campaign was launched in Kenya to write this letter to you. Ten day listening to both sides of the debate. Ten days reading the views of the international community regarding this issue. Ten days thinking of how I would speak to you about this subject. Ten days wondering…and hoping that my voice will stand out to you, despite the many voices that are calling out to you.
Child, back in my day, we also had sexual education in school. Back in my day, we were taught about reproduction. Back in my day, as we walked out of the classes after the topic, we would be given sanitary towels. But as it is, you will receive condoms after your sexual education class. These condoms will not be adult-size condoms and will come brightly coloured, to attract you kids. Most kids will pick one as they walk out, some will pick the bright red ones, some boys will prefer the blue, some shy girls might chuckle and pick the yellow one, and the girl in front of you might pick the pink one. Then it will be your turn.
What will you do when they hold out the condoms for you to pick one? Will you have the strength to say, “No”? Will you pick one just so that you can fit in, you know, even if you don’t intend to use it? Will you pick one just in case some day you might need to use it?
Child, when they shall give you condoms, they will have to tell you a lot of lies before they hand them out to you and before they place the condoms in the washrooms, because they expect if you are shy to pick one openly, you can always run to the washrooms for your stash.
Lie number one; we are not in the Stone Age, kids are having sex!
True, we are a modernized global community, but that kids all over are rampantly having sex it is a lie. Some are, but they are only doing it because they know no better. Some adult who should have told the kids about the implications and the place of sex is failing in their job. Some adult who should regulate the media so that it does not perpetuate the sexual energy among kids is failing in their job. I am not such an adult; I will tell you, child, that sex is much more serious than the coming together of sexual organs. Sex is an act of enjoyment, it involves giving joy to each other, and with that comes a lot of psychological involvement. Sex is about letting someone be part of you in a most intimate and special way. Sex is a gift given to you, for your pleasure, with the right person, at the right time. That right time is not when you are a kid. Adults have become so pre-occupied in the life rat-race that instead of letting kids be kids, it looks easier to tailor-make adult stuff for kids. It looks so hard to find the time to instruct you kids, both for the parents and for the teachers. Society seems to have fewer and fewer examples of people who have stood the test of time before indulging in sex. Even the church is struggling to find a few remnants. But do not be cheated. There are so many people who wait until marriage (not just until adulthood) to have sex.
Lie number two; we are not giving you condoms to promote sex. It is to prevent HIV/AIDS.
They say every two minutes a teenager dies from HIV/AIDS, which is why kids must be given condoms to stop these deaths. I do not prefer that teenagers die of HIV/AIDS, but I also detest hiding behind this subject to accommodate pre-marital sex. This is how to see through this lie: Look at the global community; look at developed countries where AIDS is not prevalent. Child, condoms are being given out to kids like peanuts. Not only condoms, but all sorts of contraceptives! That is right where our society is headed, camouflaging it in watching out against teenage deaths. Child, the adults want to avoid teenage-pregnancies, but telling you about abstinence calls for a lot of character from the adults themselves. Adults also know you are not ready to handle the consequences of bringing a child into the world, but giving you protection is much easier than teaching abstinence, and much easier than taking responsibility of the children you would bear through pre-marital sex. Please be wise, child…when they shall give you condoms, it is not just for the reasons that they shall tell you. Supposing AIDS gets a cure, or supposing it becomes less prevalent, do you think they will go like,
“Hey kids, no more condoms for you… the problem is solved! ”?
Lie number three; condoms will not make young people promiscuous, that’s just a myth.
They will argue that children who have “control” over their sexual lives will delay the sexual experience compared to those who feel the need to give in to peer pressure or be rebellious. Really? Child, having control over your sexual life is not walking around with a condom, it is walking with the knowledge that you can say no to sexual offers and temptations. That is real control.
Child, when you hear these lies and half-truths, I hope and pray that you will have enough sense to argue them out, privately or publicly. I hope and pray that you will dare to be different in a world that does not celebrate differences. Dare to be different in a world that is starved of love and personal identity. In a world that people will do anything, almost anything, to fit in, to be loved, to be celebrated, to get more “likes”, even if that thing is to conform to the apparent wrong.
Child, when they shall give you condoms, I hope and pray that you will remember that you are a Christian, that you are set apart, that you have the strength to fight all sexual temptation before marriage and the temptation that comes during marriage, outside the marriage covenant. I know child that the world is trying to show you that it is impossible, but the world is outside you, only you can make the decision to give in.
Child, when they shall give you condoms, I hope you will decline. Better still, ask for an adult condom, because it can be useful to you in this one way; Should you ever encounter a rapist and not be in a position to fight or get help, you could convince the rapist to at least use a condom. Outside marriage, that is how a condom could ever save you. The rest of the mumbo-jumbo around condoms is for adults who will profit from the procurements, financially or otherwise.