BY SHARON SITATI
Whenever you hear “contraception”, the image of a woman, and often a pregnant woman, is what usually comes to mind before anything else.
For the longest time, the issue has been left on the shoulders of the one who can get pregnant, and it is women who often take fully responsibility for preventing pregnancy, despite it being the outcome of both the sexual partners.
Women have been left to make the contraception choice most times in the absence and ignorance of the relationship partners and this is a form of violence against them.
I held this conversation with a few male friends and was surprised by how much they did not know about contraception with two of them saying, “If I wear a condom, does that count?”
Do you talk to your partner about contraception and better choice for both of you to prevent pregnancy? Or does it end up at wearing a condom and what if it breaks, it is the wrong size, you wear it wrongly and it does not work?
“Oh! Emergency contraception pills?” is what also comes to the mind for many. But as much as the e-pill would help salvage the situation at some point (if correctly used within a certain period), this over- the -counter emergency contraception pill is the most abused.
There is lack of correct and timely information on contraception that makes women and young sexually active girls use the “P2” more than two times a year. This has adverse effects on their health, but since most have limited information on what methods would work on them, they will prefer this easily accessible ones to other methods.
We need to bring men on board and sensitize each other on this topic. Many of the common hormonal contraception have adverse emotional and physical effects. Sometime women in toxic relationships get abused for portraying certain behaviors or attitudes that can be effects of those methods.
Low sex drive sometimes occurs as an effect of some contraception methods but some men without understanding will beat up their partners and accuse of them of cheating and not wanting to associate with them intimately.
There is need to educate each other on understanding and having these conversations openly so that men can know how to support their spouses on contraception matters. Additionally, we need to break the myth of seeing women who carry condoms as not morally right and start realizing it is being responsible for their reproductive health.
The pressure on women to prevent the pregnancy is high because you are directly affected, and the other partner can walk out on you anytime leaving you with the dilemma of being the sole decision maker.
We should have more open and educative conversation and allow women to know that they can and have a right to strike such conversations in their relationships. As young people we should continuously request the government to make the contraception information and services accessible to young people that need them so they can make informed choices about their reproductive health.