Written by Betty Njoroge
W.S.I – (abbreviation) “Willfully Sexually Ignorant, a state of deliberately ignoring sex education and yet being sexually active; knowing off sex education but ignoring it.”
Every Friday night they are on twitter, on facebook, busy sex-chatting the explicit and the vulgar. On the bright side, they are on social media so the chances of them actually DOING what they are talking about are reduced; on the dark side, the blatant ignorance they display which they actually practice.
In 2002, then President Mwai Kibaki declared free primary education and 1 million kids went to school within the first few weeks. Then came the nationwide anti-HIV campaign, led by the president himself that resulted in “sex education” being introduced as part of the curriculum. So our little kids were told of the evils of sex outside marriage and about the reproductive cycles and the “education” stopped way short of how to take preventive measures. Well, the ABCs were mentioned: Abstinence, Be faithful and Use a condom, but no one was going to demonstrate HOW to use condoms. Never mind, we said, they were children in primary school and don’t need to know how to use contraceptives. The religious people would raise hell anyway. Apparently God has issues with contraceptives.
So here we are; dealing with a generation of legal adults aged 18-49 who are STILL willfully sexually ignorant because lo and behold, most don’t use condoms, and most don’t take contraceptive measures. Now it’s understandable if one was a teenager in high school and unable to access information or contraceptives, but these people are not in high school, these are people who are in university or are working, people who have access to news, information, smart phones and GOOGLE. These are people who go out there, have unprotected sex, and with more than one partner.
The willfully sexually ignorant woman will not spend 50 shillings on a monthly hormonal contraceptive. No. She will spend 150 kshs on an emergency pill which she will take up to 4 times a month, despite the instructions clearly stating that it is an EMERGENCY pill, and one does not have those sorts of emergencies 4 times a month. Never mind the hormonal boosts she keeps giving her body, or the fact that an emergency pill is taken in case one’s REGULAR contraceptive method has failed or if she forgot to take the pill for 2 days or more. She relies on the morning after pill because she is compulsive the night before and apparently unable to follow simple instructions or swallow a pill each day like a normal person.
WSI women use emergency pills as regular contraception, pumping their bodies full of hormones and messing up their cycles so much that they don’t know when their periods are supposed to turn up. Should the WSI miss her period anyway, and suspect she is pregnant, she will spend 6-10 thousand kshs on an abortion; an UNSAFE abortion.
I don’t have to tell you that abortion is illegal in Kenya so chances of one procuring a SAFE Dilate and Curette (D&C) depend on how much the doctor values his ethics. Needless to say, it would be an expensive procedure. Basically, the average WSI encumbered with an unwanted pregnancy will seek a backstreet abortion. The damage done in such procedures fills the government clinics and the district hospitals with females whose insides are ripped to shreds and festering with sepsis, and if the WSI woman gets away unscathed, she remains defiantly, willfully sexually ignorant and repeats the process once again.
The WSI man on the other hand is not only willfully ignorant sexually; he is also incapable of self control or taking responsibility. Thus, if he gets an infection it is the woman’s fault. If she gets pregnant it is her fault. If he is HIV positive someone else infected him. During the entire sexual act it is the woman who “gave” him. The result being that the WSI man is unlikely to EVER consider condom use, or even have the slightest hint on the different contraceptives available. He thus would not know if his woman took a pill or not. The most the WSI man would do is contribute cash to an abortion.
Though it may seem that WSI male is getting away with less physical damage due to sexual behavior, the WSI man leads HIV prevalence, being slightly ahead of the woman.
You see there is absolutely no point of doing anti-HIV campaigns and adverts if the people who are supposedly educated enough to understand these campaigns remain willfully sexually ignorant. That is, they IGNORE condoms, they IGNORE contraceptives and they IGNORE safe sex practices. There really is no point in lamenting the impending deaths of people who choose to expose themselves to HIV infections despite there being condoms and despite there being VCT clinics where they can be tested. It is a cold thing to say, but it has to be said. If you are a WSI female popping the morning after pill 4 times a month thinking that you are avoiding pregnancy all the time you are exposing yourself by not using condoms or the regular pill, you really cannot expect us to believe that you don’t know what you are doing. I am NOT sorry if you refuse to be sexually responsible and thus face the consequences of your irresponsible behavior. Yes. I am cold hearted. But then you are willfully ignorant. We are even.
We aren’t talking about teenagers who are caught up by their hormones and a lack of access. We are talking about fully grown adults who not only were educated in school, they grew up post 1980s so they know about the dangers of HIV and AIDs and they know about condom use. These are people who come from families where their own parents used contraceptive measures such that they have average 2-3 siblings. These are people who can read but choose not to. They are as sexually illiterate as the herds’ boy in the remotest plains of Kenya. These are people who live close enough to hospitals such that when their backstreet abortions go wrong they can at least seek treatment at a medical facility.
WSI people behave that way ON PURPOSE. A willfully sexually ignorant person is like this suicide patient a doctor once told me about. The man had tried to slice open his neck. His family took him to hospital in good time and the doctor spent hours in surgery working on reattaching the various sinews, nerves and veins in his neck. He survived in good condition. Barely 6 hours after surgery the man woke up and jumped from the 5th story of the hospital. Just like that he was rushed back into surgery for the same doctor to stitch him together again. The doctor was working on another patient and couldn’t stop, so he took his time. 30 minutes later, suicide guy had died.
Sometimes you actually get what you want. We can’t keep stitching fools together.
Betty Waitherero Njoroge is a writer, a human rights activist and a producer for television. She writes commentary and opinion pieces on socio-political matters in Kenya and runs her own blog on www.bettywaitherero.blogspot.com