By Ankita Rawat:
Sixteen young people (aged 13 to 24) from low-resource backgrounds have created these three short films as part of a project called ‘Roles, Camera, Action,’ that focuses on providing information about sexual and reproductive health and laws to adolescents so that they can advocate for their rights.
When they joined this project, they had no idea of SRHR, and neither were they aware of RMNCH+A, a government intervention scheme that focuses on these issues. Empowered with information on these topics, they came up with film ideas on the following themes:
1. Lack of comprehensive sexuality education in schools; taboos around sex and sexuality in their circle.
2. The story of a young girl who faced violence by her family, friends and health service provider because she was unmarried.
3. Unmarried youth being judged and abused when they tried accessing health services.
Let’s also look at why they were unaware of their rights in the first place—
1. Talking about sexual and reproductive organs or health is stigmatised in society. Therefore these adolescents have been raised with this notion of ‘shame’ about SRHR.
2. The Society not accepting adolescents or youths as sexual beings.
3. Pre-marital sex being stigmatised – as a result of this, young people are hesitant to talk about or access services around pregnancy, abortion, STIs, HIV and contraception.
4. Health service providers do not even consider this age group as sexual beings.
It’s important to break this vicious circle of taboo, shame, stigma and fear so that youth can claim these spaces and make use of the interventions made for them and live a happy, tense free and healthy life.
Through these films, they put forward their claim for friendly and safe spaces when it comes to the medical sector.
Watch them and let us know what you think!