Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) include the right of all individuals to make decisions about their sexual activity and reproduction without any outside influence. These rights give individuals the power to decide when to have sex, with whom, when to have children, whether to use birth control or not, whether to get married or not, and much more
More often then not, adolescent girls and women are denied this right. How often have you heard of girls and women being forced to get married, undergo female genital mutilation, seek abortions in the worst places or ingest nasty concoctions in order to abort? How many friends do you know who have procured abortions, been abused by their family members or close family friends, run away from home because they did not want to get married or were scared to come out and speak of being abused?
Unfortunately, these cruel acts are very common. Young people are not aware, or are ignorant of their sexual and reproductive health rights. So here is where we come in… We are shall spell these rights out to you. And by the way, these SRHR are universal human rights!
Sexual and reproductive health rights include the right to:
- Receive education on sexuality (This is what we are doing now 🙂);
- Choose their partner (Only YOU should choose your partner! You’re the one who’s going to be with them anyway...);
- Have consensual sexual relations (Any one who has sexual relations with you without your go-ahead is committing a crime, even if you are married… Story for another day);
- Decide whether or not, or when to have children (YOU are the one who is going to be responsible for this life, so you definitely have to be ready to have a child, decide how many you want, and with whom! If you are not ready to have a child/children no one should force you to);
- Have respect for bodily integrity (It is YOUR body… no one has the right to force you to do anything to YOUR body that YOU are not comfortable with…); and
- Pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life (Now, this applies to individuals who are mature enough to make sound decisions, ADULTS!).
Many of us, Kenyans, have heard on the First Lady’s Beyond Zero Half Marathon. The goal of this initiative is to raise awareness, and funds, for ending HIV/AIDS and reducing maternal morbidity and mortality in Kenya. Guess what, research has shown that most maternal deaths are caused by…UNSAFE ABORTION. This is such an unfortunate fact, which we shall discuss in the days to come…
Anyway, hope you are more informed on sexual and reproductive health rights. In the coming weeks, we shall have in-depth discussions on the same.
Words by: Linda Bonareri @linda_bonareri (@ywli_info)