Sunday, 22 February 2015

#ProjectKuuliza: "Dating, Relationships and Sex - What Girls Need to Know"

"Sex is a biological relationship between a boy and a girl, for pleasure or reproduction"
- Doyin Oyelekan (14 Years Old)

When Girl Pride Circle decided to examine the concepts of Sex, Dating and Relationships with our girls on Saturday 21st February 2015, there were expectations of filling in a knowledge gap and arming our girls with the right kind of information on these issues. At the end of the day's conversations, we were amazed at our girls' level of knowledge and how much they had been seeking a venting space to speak up and clarify few grey areas.

GPC volunteer - Erere, opened the discussion by asking our girls to define the concepts of dating and relationships. We got a lot of hilarious answers. For instance, our super journalist in the making - Kabirat Adeniyi, defined dating as the relationship between a boy and a girl that has gone past the "ordinary stage". When asked to explain what "ordinary stage" meant, our super girl was lost for words and could only manage gesticulations with her hands! Generally, they all had a hard time differentiating friendship from dating/being in a relationship. We clarified this with a working definition of a relationship, offered by GPC Volunteer - Yewande: "A relationship is a romantic kind of friendship."
Moving the discussion further, Erere asked the girls to share their knowledge on the process of sex. Here, their responses were all based on what they had been reading in romantic novels as well as their basic knowledge of Biology. Erere was quite impressed with their level of knowledge. 
At this point, she asked the girls to write anonymous questions about sex/relationships on little pieces of paper and forward them to her.
Moving towards the end of her session, Erere asked the girls to share their thoughts on the right time to start dating or nurturing a relationship. One of our girls - Laolu, seemed to believe that dating is not about a girl's age, as one could be 18 years old and still not mentally ready to date. On the other hand, a lot of the girls expressed their strong belief in putting off dating until the individuals involved are ready to settle down with life partners. 6 of the girls further admitted to currently being in relationships and were curious to know if that was acceptable or not. 
Erere closed the session by giving the girls a rule of the thumb, to truthfully determine if they were ready to date. In her words, "If you are not able to talk about your relationship with your parents/guardians, or you have to sneak around to keep up with your relationship, then you are not ready." 
Yewande came up to discuss the negative effects of premature dating and the positive effects of dating at the right time. Sharing her personal stories and life experiences with the girls, she pointed out that premature dating is similar to bearing a burden that weighs you down entirely and prevents you from reaching your full potential. She also highlighted that dating before discovering one's true self leads to lack of time for one's self, loss of direction and lack of self confidence.
Comparatively, she emphasized that waiting till one is emotionally ready to date is a fulfilling experience, as there is enough room to come together with another individual to make each other better and help each other achieve your set goals. In the period of waiting, she encouraged the girls to work towards developing themselves - not for the purpose of impressing any other person, but for personal fulfillment.
The girls unanimously agreed that dating/relationships could wait for now, as their focus is currently on developing themselves and achieving their goals.
To wrap up our meeting for the day, there were very hilarious (though instructive) simulations between some of the girls, on how to respond to and ward off premature sexual/relationship advances.
Our conversations for the day were very engaging and insightful. We look forward to the next meeting with our AMAZING super girls!

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