LOUD WHISPERS: Zips and Knees

Simbo: I like this statement. Listen (reads from her phone) ‘Pregnant school girls should be allowed to stay in school. Sending them away while allowing boys who impregnate them to stay is discriminatory’.

Jerry: This is true, it is not right to stop the education of girls when they get pregnant. Afterall, they did not impregnate themselves.

Jimoh: What kind of nonsense is that? How can a pregnant girl stay in school? What message does that send to other students? It means that promiscuity pays and all the other girls are free to go and get pregnant.

Maria: That is ridiculous. The fact that one girl is pregnant and stays in school does not mean other girls will get pregnant too. Is pregnancy a virus or cold you can catch? Just because that is how things have been does not mean we cannot change. The number of pregnant school girls is too high and we cannot keep folding our arms, something has to be done.

Simbo: As Jerry said, they do not impregnate themselves, why should they suffer alone?

Jimoh: What if the person responsible for the pregnancy is not a student in the school? Many of these girls are impregnated by older men.

Jerry: If an older man has sex with an underage girl that is a criminal offence and he must face charges for it.

Jimoh: A criminal offence? Under what law? `

Maria: Under the Child Rights Act of 2003. Nigeria is a signatory to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Act is the Federal domestication of the convention. The Act is supposed to be domesticated across the States of the Federation. So far almost all States in Southern Nigeria have a Child Rights Law as well as Kaduna State in the North.

Simbo: Unfortunately, in many instances it does not matter whether the law is in place or not. Children are abused in so many ways, and when it comes to the Girl-Child, she has so many challenges to overcome. If girls get pregnant in school, that is usually the end of the road for them, unless they are from wealthy homes. Can you imagine the number of potential Lawyers, Engineers, Scientists and Doctors we are losing every year if they are allowed to drop out of school?

Maria: Absolutely, it is a national development issue. We need to stop behaving like ostriches and lift our heads out of the sand.

Jimoh: What if the girl is in a relationship with the guy and they both agree to have sex. How can that be rape?

Jerry: There is no such thing as consensual sex with a minor. As long as a girl is under 18 years of age, she is a minor.

Jimoh: What if it happens where the law does not apply? How can you make criminals out of people who simply want to be together, regardless of their age?

Maria: Even if the law does not exist, why should adults require laws to tell us how to behave with children? What happened to common sense? Decency? Compassion? How will you feel if some man starts sleeping with Tola, your fifteen year old daughter?

Jimoh: God forbid!! My daughter is well brought up. How will she come across a man who will deceive her into sex? We monitor her movements and she is not allowed to have friends.

(Maria, Simbo and Jerry all laugh)

Jerry: My brother, may your hypocrisy not lead you to an early grave. No parent can know for sure what their children are up to. All we can do is discipline, guide and counsel them. As parents, we need to have eyes at the back of our heads when dealing with children of nowadays.

Maria: Talking about young girls getting pregnant, why is there so much resistance to the teaching of sex education? If young people don’t have facts they will make up their own information. Do you know how many girls have become pregnant because a boy or man has told them that you can never get pregnant the first time you have sex, that you have to do it ten times before you can become pregnant!

Jimoh: Yeepa!! Ten times?

Jerry: I am in full agreement with sex education being on the curriculum. I also think parents should encourage their children to talk to them about anything. When we keep shutting them up and ignoring them, they will not confide in us when something is seriously wrong.

Simbo: A lot of abuse that children have gone through could have been avoided if parents had been more sensitive and aware.

Jimoh: So if we are saying we want pregnant girls to stay in school, what happens after they give birth? Surely, they have to stay home to take care of the baby?

Maria: It is hoped that when situations like this occur, there will be a support system in place for the young mother. If she takes a three or four month break, she should be able to go back to school, if not her current school another one. And while she is on maternity leave, if the person responsible is another student, he too should go on paternity leave and he can return when the girl does. Of course for this to work there needs to be a lot of advocacy and sensitization with the education authorities and parents.

Jimoh: Paternity leave? You feminists have come again o! Which one is paternity leave?

Jerry: Every responsible father should take paternity leave. That is the time to bond with your new baby and support your wife, or in this case, Baby Mama. It is not a big deal. If boys have to stay away from school for three months then they will think twice before sweet talking a girl into sex and they will keep their trousers zipped up.

Maria: Yes my dear brother. The message should be Boys, Zip Up and Girls, Knees Together.

Simbo: What happens when girls keep their knees together and boys insist on prying them apart? It happens on a daily basis now, and we are fast becoming a rape republic. I for one would like our government to declare a national emergency on abuse of women and children.

(All of them nod their heads)

Jerry: It is indeed getting out of hand, people are so wicked. Raping babies, brutalizing girls, sodomising boys, kidnapping, murder, it feels like the devil has decided to upgrade his vacation home in Nigeria to a permanent residence. Look at that poor woman they shot just like that in Ondo State. That is so terrible.

Maria: Yes, there is so much wickedness around. People prey on the poor and desperate, and that is why it is easy to lure children who are hungry with as little as N100.

Jimoh: I need to spend more time with my daughter. You have all given me food for thought. To be honest, I don’t know what she knows or does not know about sex. I have just taken it for granted that all our warnings and counselling should be enough. We can never know it all, we just have to do the best we can.

Simbo: That is the spirit. Parenting is a never ending task. We are eternal advocates for our children. That is why the misfortune of one child should concern us all. Someday, our own children might need one form of assistance or another and you never know where that help might come from. Let us teach our children more than the birds and the bees. We should not judge those who make mistakes, it is not the end of the world and there is nothing new under the sun. Let us all call out the predators in our midst, the stealers of futures and fortunes. Let us lead by example by being kind and compassionate.

Jerry: Speak on, my sister. Well said. We will however start with the basics before we go into the heavier stuff – Zips Up and Knees Together! (Everyone laughs).


Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com







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15 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Zips and Knees

  1. Favour Dinma July 17, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    perfecto. Girls should be allowed except if permitted otherwise by the girl. Simple!

  2. Veronica Imaseun July 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    I have been pondering over this for a while now and I am happy we airing this view in Nigeria. These girls shouldn’t be expelled, they should be allowed to make their decisions. I saw the post on instablog and even though as usual we have some idiots on that page but a whole of people took in this idea positively. We should allow our girls blossom whether they’ve made a mistake or not.

  3. DSEED July 17, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Staying pregnant about her colleagues is a punishment on its own and i think that should serve her a lesson than sending her out of school. Let’s keep spreading necessary information about it.

  4. Jeremy Mathews July 18, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    I saw the way people argued back and forth on the matter on IG but the fact remains that she didn’t impregnate herself and should be allowed to make her choice.

  5. Victor Udoh July 18, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    I am happy this is becoming a point of discussion in Nigeria now. I know other African countries have started talking about this, implementing laws and all of that. It is good that we have started making plans like this, having discourses like this that can promote girlchild education and that can help sensitise the boys to be well-behaved in the society.

  6. Olatide Omojola July 18, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Shout out to all the Jimohs, very soon, their eyes go clear in a painful way. Sometimes when the shot doesn’t hit home some people won’t have sense! Their brain will not work.

  7. Femi Diipo July 19, 2019 at 12:34 am

    Yeah, it’s very true that a girl is not the only one responsible for a pregnancy and shouldn’t be made to suffer for it alone. In most cases in our society, the pregnancy in minor girls are caused by older men who simply prey on their naivety and ignorance. There should be a serious law against rape and sex with minors and people found guilty should be made to face the full extent of the law without any exceptions. We really need to keep working towards making this society much better

  8. Dom Dom July 19, 2019 at 12:38 am

    We can never have enough of these kinda conversations until there’s serious change in our society. Let’s talk about it here and everywhere, let those who claim ignorance know and the stubborn hearted be consistently made aware. Keeping pregnant girls out of school is a barbaric act, sex with minors is an abomination and rape is a taboo. We simply don’t want any of these in our society anymore

  9. Cordelia James July 19, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you. Thank you. There are serious points spelt out right here. The fact that girls should be allowed to make the decisions, the necessity of sex education, the path of responsibility for the men in the family and in any relationship

  10. Omorosa July 19, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    If she wasn’t asked to open up her knees, she wouldn’t be pregnant so the punishment should be for both of them. So, there must be the campaign, the kneels closed and zips up! That’s the best way to go about it and any woman or girl who gets raped and gets pregnant should be allowed to terminate the pregnancy if she doesn’t want it. She shouldn’t be forced.

  11. Tundun Phillips July 19, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Zips up, knees together!

  12. Oluseyi July 19, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    our girls should be educated, our boys should be educated. Our parents should be educated.

  13. Olakunle Olajide July 20, 2019 at 9:02 am

    It is as simple as that. Zip up and Knees tight. And you are so right, the pregnancy is already there so why punish the girl. Blame be act and forgive the girl to continue her studies. And the man should be brought in to take responsibility for his actions.

  14. Lola Adeola July 23, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    This is absolutely what we need. Proper enlightenment.

  15. Eric Onuoha July 27, 2019 at 11:00 am

    I encourage every parent to educate their children about sex because when they aren’t taught properly at home, they learn the wrong thing outside. I also advocate justice for abused women and children. Most importantly, let the boys Zip Up and Knees Together for the girls


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