Thursday, March 6, 2014

Open Windows in a World of Closing Doors

All over America, women are facing attacks on our rights, our access to birth control and safe abortion procedures. Certain elected representatives want to waste taxpayer dollars in an attempt to force women to make the choices they want them to make, instead of investing in things that can make a difference in preventing unwanted pregnancies and helping women who want to get pregnant to have healthier pregnancies and better lives for their children. One of those things that can help accomplish these truly pro-life goals, goals that I myself believe in, is education and opportunities for teens like myself to talk about sex in very frank and very real ways.

I know far too many teenage girls who are clueless when it comes to sex. It's not their fault really. Their parents live in a false reality where telling them to "wait until marriage" and not trusting them around members of the opposite sex is going to keep them from making "bad choices." I know more than one girl who has gotten pregnant despite living in a very strict, very conservative household. There are many more girls I'm really worried about. And the really sad thing is, many of these girls are having sex and not even enjoying it.

Even teens like myself, who can talk to their mothers and even their fathers about any topic they want to discuss and come away from the discussion without feeling judged or having bars put on their windows sometimes want to keep their thoughts and questions private. Sometimes, before we approach adults in our lives to have discussions about sex, we want to make sure we're going into those discussions well-informed. Sometimes, we also want to hear what other young people are thinking and get their opinions.

Enter Scarleteen. This website provides comprehensive information about sex and a place teens and young adults can go to ask questions. Some examples of current questions and topics: I'm 14 and want a baby. Is that weird or slutty? , Body and sexuality disconnects with disability, I like fantasizing about it, would I like it for real?, His religious beliefs are no condoms, but I need them, what do I do?, and An Infection getting worse and worse, can I just wait it out?

In order to keep doing what they are doing, Scarleteen needs funds. From their Tumblr blog:

"With no radical change in giving and support immediately — and a change that is permanent, not just reactionary — Scarleteen as we know it, and as our users use it, may just be over."

For me, personally, having access to this website has made me more conscientious about decisions regarding dating and sex. Having access to information like this has made me realize I don't want or need a "boyfriend" at a young age and can enjoy dating and having relationships focused on enjoying life and built on mutual respect. It's reinforced the idea that sex is not something I want to rush into, be pressured into, or something I do just to satisfy my own curiosity. Having access to information like this has taught me a lot about my body, about my feelings and how normal they are, and has made me think about topics I never would have thought about otherwise. Most importantly, it's given me a way to help other teenagers, teens who can't talk to their parents or are too ashamed to go to other adults in their lives.

I hope Scarleteen is able to continue to do all the good work they do. I hope anyone who is in the position to donate will consider doing so. With all of the scary things happening right now in regards to access to birth control and clinics, I feel it's more important than ever that one thing that's not limited is access to information.

No comments:

Post a Comment