First year students of the University Practice Senior High School (UPSHS) have been educated on adolescent health development and sexuality at a symposium organised by the Centre for Gender Research, Advocacy, and Documentation (CEGRAD).
The symposium, which is held annually for first-year students of UPSHS, was aimed at exposing freshmen and women to the various social issues and challenges that potentially confront them as adolescents and students.
Psychological Effects of Pornography, Occultism, and Substance Abuse
In his presentation on the topic: “Psychological Effects of Pornography, Occultism, and Substance Abuse,” a Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Michael Annim, at the School of Medical Sciences, decried the rising spate of drug abuse amongst students in second cycle institutions. He advised the students against taking dangerous drugs because it could ruin their academic work.
Dr. Annim debunked the perception that substance abuse was the only way that could help one to stay focused on their studies and achieve academic laurels with ease. He explained that the negative effect of substance abuse on the human body was disastrous and could lead to anti-social and non-conformist activities. He noted, that taking their academic work seriously was the panacea to make them excel in life so as to become responsible leaders in the future. He cautioned them against watching pornography, indicating that watching pornography could affect them psychologically and destroy their future. He counselled the students against the temptation of indulging in occult practices during their stay on campus.
He also advised the students to be mindful of the kind of friends they move along with so as to avert drug addiction and occultism, whilst reminding them that some old students with bad characters usually bequeath such anti-social and non-conformist activities to continuing students who spare no efforts to initiate fresh students into the aforesaid devilish vices. He told the students to always seek professional advice from their counsellors at their school instead of resorting to their friends for unhelpful advice.
Gender, Sexuality and Violence
For her part, The Director of CEGRAD, Dr. Georgina Yaa Oduro, speaking on the topic: “ Gender, Sexuality and Violence”, wondered why the expectations of society from males and females were gendered.
“ …Women are expected to behave in a certain way. Unfortunately, most of these expectations are gendered. whereas sometimes boys can be allowed in a particular society to have two or three girls. However, girls cannot be allowed to do that. women are expected to be what we sometimes called sexual gatekeepers( to live a chaste life). so when it comes to sexuality it is not on the same scale. Whereas there are expectations from women, there are also different expectations from men.”
Dr. Oduro mentioned curtained education, stigma, poverty, family problems and curtailed career aspirations, were some of the social consequences that could face teenage pregnant mothers.
She advised them to “stay away from premarital sex, set goals for themselves, have values and learn about sexual reproductive health” to enable them to achieve their purpose in school.
She told the students with burning sexuality issues to patronize the services of their teachers, PPAG, DOVSU and CEGRAD, as well as counsellors in their school. She reminded them of their dreams to become responsible adults in future. She, therefore, urged them to “say no to sex “ in their adolescent ages and advised that they channel their energies on their studies to enable them to achieve their ambitions.
As part of the symposium, a Research Associate at CEGRAD, Dr. Amanda Odoi, took the students through the topic “ Basic Concepts in Gender’, whilst a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Population and Health, Dr. Samuel K. Agblorti, also spoke on the topic:” The Safety and Security of Students”.