As many of you already know, I'm African, Nigerian to be precise (random information 101)
Growing up, I observed that there are some topics that culturally we didn't discuss openly or freely. Some restrictions where also based on individual family norms or personal preference.
However, I believe that sometimes it is important to discuss some of these things as sometimes there's a lot to learn instead of paying the price of ignorance again and again.
In no particular order, below are some of those sacred topics (please feel free to add yours)
1. Sex - The 'big' word! I don't know how many of you are from conservative families where merely saying the word SEX could get you into BIG trouble! Unfortunately, in many homes, sex wasn't a topic that was freely discussed and more often than not, you heard about it or knew about it from playgroup whispered chit-chat or watch it on TV and put two and two together.
I'm glad that more families are talking about it now and educating their young children about it.
It helps a lot when truth is not replaced by fiction or myth by some outside source when it can be fully explored at a child's main school - Home.
2. Virginity - Now this next one is one that is hammered on, disguised in sentences like "don't sleep with a boy", "don't go and mess yourself up, if you do you are a prostitute and you don't have any self respect", "don't talk to boys, if you get pregnant I will kill you and no one will hold me responsible", "when you have too many male friends, it means that you are wayward and lack good home training"..
I'm sure you have noticed that most of the talk about virginity is threatening and targeted at girls. As a Christian, it is important to discuss the dignity and pride in waiting for sex in marriage. I have noticed that even grown ups hide it like it's something to be ashamed of or played down in today's world.
Very often, it is easy to see a group of single friends or celebrities talking about their sexual escapades and trading sex tips et al but it is not as easy to find people who would gladly interrupt and speak up about how wonderful it is to wait and be celibate before marriage (I look forward to that :-D)
3. Pregnancy - This is another top secret. You don't tell people when you are pregnant, you hide it for as long as possible so that 'they' will not know lol.. You don't share the sex of your baby before the due date or discuss in detail if you're facing challenges in conceiving. As the previous topics, thank God that people are now embracing being more open about sharing their pregnancy stories (even while pregnant)
4. Abuse - It could be sexual, physical, mental or otherwise but people don't talk freely about being abused. I think this is really sad as it has allowed some criminals go scot free instead of facing the consequences of their action. I also believe that one of the reasons why people don't bother talking about it, apart from the stigma attached to it is that they believe that nothing will be done about it (unfortunately this used to be the case - and in some cases, still rings true).
In addition, not speaking out has prevented the victim from taking a step to psychological healing as well as informing and helping someone else to be more alert and careful.
5. Sickness - There are some sicknesses you don't talk about! *tufiakwa* - HIV / AIDS, Tuberculosis, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), to mention a few. So you ask the question "What happened to that man? How did he die?" and you get in response "It was his time to die" or "God gives and God takes".. I believe that if only we spoke more openly about certain illnesses and diseases, it could very well save another man's life!
I don't know how, when and why these restrictions came about but I know many examples of things that have gone wrong and someone's predicament that has gone awry because someone thought it wise to keep quiet.
So, what do you think? Have things improved? Do you think people should be more open about talking about the issues above? Is there anything I've missed out? xx