A few months ago, I happened to meet a young community leader in the eastern part of Sri Lanka, conducting awareness programs on child abuse. Despite being the sole breadwinner of her family, she still wants to share a little time with her community and empower the next generation. She is a courageous young lady who has had her own sorrows to deal with. Forced into marriage at 14, she knew nothing about the institution of marriage other than just following her 20-year-old husband’s orders.
By the age of 16, she was carrying a baby but she was unsure about being a teenage mother living in a war zone (at that time) with almost no support system to take care of herself or her to be born child. So one day, she mustered all her courage and stepped out of the house looking for a solution. She undergoes a back alley abortion and almost gets killed by the pain and the excessive bleeding. Luckily for her, with her body supporting to heal a little faster, she walks out of her worst nightmare. But she was being labelled “unscrupulous” for trying to take a stand on her own life because some of us are busy judging people through the bubble of morality but surprisingly forget everything about free will.
15 years forward, she is a mother of three wonderful kids and one of the leading ladies of her community, advocating for women and child rights. She is one of those few women who just happened to be lucky I guess. And there are plenty of young women who were forced to teenage marriages and may be to bear children regardless their will. And some of them might as well try to find easiest alternative, suicide or self-harm.
Government prescribed education system does not contribute much to establishing the fundamentals of sex education within the young generation. And the mere words “SEX” itself being taboo within our conservative (nevertheless “cultural”) societies, trying to reach information through books, Internet or even through movies are considered misbehaving. Consequently, young women without a hint of knowledge about reproductive health and contraception are just pushed in to a society that expects them to be everything else but not themselves.
Starting from the right to information, the right to make your own decisions are just ignored by the same society that claims to have moral values for everything around them. Led by natural instincts, when a young woman ends up getting pregnant since she might have never even heard about condoms, IUDs or even emergency pills, she is not given any options.
From the beginning itself, we were manipulated and yeah, of course programmed to believe a structure that speaks of morals, ethics and doing the right thing. A woman sacrificing her own life over a family or children would be considered an epitome of the womankind while taking a decision for her own betterment would mark her Immoral or even amoral. Standing on a moral ground, if society is ignoring a person’s basic right to take a decision to control her own body, despite knowing that she was never even given a fair chance, maybe it’s high time to question the brass tacks of “morals” themselves.
“Moral values” seem to be more like rainbows; they reflect the insight of white yet in reality, it’s a wonderful visual illusion just as morals.