There is a disturbing trend coming to light that is rarely heard of, but has been around for decades if not centuries. Malawi girls—some as young as 6—are being sent to camps where they are taught and encouraged to have sex. Explained that if they do not have sex they will receive a skin disease, “teachers” show “students” how to have sex and encourage promiscuity.
The girls are actually sent by their parents as they are thought of as more of a financial burden. The quicker they leave the house, the quicker finances are freed up that would have otherwise been spent on their children.
That being said, parents have taken to—and passed down through generations—sending their kids off to sex education camps. In these camps, girls are taught that they must lose their, “child dust,” in order to be accepted into the community.
It should be noted however that in Malawi, there is no such thing as adolescence. In their culture is engrained a mentality where girls are either children or women—there is no middle ground. So whenever parents deem their girls to be old enough, they are shipped off to these camps where they are introduced to sexual behavior.
If parent’s are so inclined, they can even hire what they call “hyenas”—men that will forcefully take the virginity of their little girls.
Women that run the camp are known as, anamkungwi, or “key leaders,” that teach the children how they will be expected to act as women and wives. These leaders teach the girls that they are expected to undergo “sexual cleansing” and in order to rid themselves of sexual inexperience, to go out and sleep with whomever they can.
One ten year old girl who was forced to go to one of the camps by her parents was told, “You should be dancing and have a man on top of you, making him happy.”
As described above, parents can only get rid of the financial “burden” that is their children by passing it along to someone else—a husband. The easiest way in which parents can guarantee to find their daughters willing spouses, is if they somehow get pregnant—enter sex camps.
Creating an atmosphere where little girls think it acceptable to have sex with whomever they please has resulted in Malawai being amongst the top ten countries in the world that marry the most little girls. However, this practice doesn’t come without its downfalls.
Amongst dropping out of school and destroying their potential successful futures, this practice also has allowed for an extremely high domestic violence rate as well as an uncontrollable spread of STI’s. As it is well known, Africa already battles the severe outbreak of AIDS that has left nearly a half-million children orphaned so far, in South Africa alone.
The serious spread of these types of diseases aren’t helped by camps like these as they strongly discourage the use of condoms.
Some girls are however fighting back against the extremely intrusive and unsafe practice stating they aim to hold off from sex and marriage until after they complete their education.
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