‘Not My Child’: Parents’ Denial About Adolescent Sexuality in Harare, Zimbabwe
AbstractObjective: To find out adult views on adolescent sexualities in Zimbabwe and how adults construct sexual cultures that deny adolescence access to sex.Materials and methods: The paper uses qualitative methodologies, with purposively selected parents and key informants. A total of ten in depth interviews, four focus groups and six key informant interviews with purposively sampled male and female respondents were conducted. Key informants included a headmaster, teacher, social worker, nurses and a member of traditional healers association.Results: Parents that were interviewed denied that their adolescent children were sexually active. This denial of adolescent sexuality was seen throughout the interviews. The denial of adolescent sexuality was linked to the other themes that emerged including sexual surveillance and sexual communication, school pregnancy, STIs and sexual education, and adult anxiety on adolescent sex.Conclusion: The denial of youth sexuality has serious impacts on youths’ access to information and ability to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. We argue that government policies and lack of comprehensive sex education in schools are based on this denial of adolescent sexuality and should be addressed.
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