The Centre for Gender Research Advocacy and Documentation (CEGRAD) has organised a seminar for students of the University Practice Senior High School (UPSHS) as part of its outreach activities.
The seminar was aimed at sensitizing the students on issues of gender, drug abuse and pornography.
Opening the seminar, the Director of CEGRAD, Dr. Genevieve Adukpo, said the mandate of the Centre was to facilitate the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality in the University Community and also embark on outreach programmes to both public and private organisations. She said students of UPSHS have been attending programmes of CEGRAD and therefore, it was important for the Centre to also reach out to them at their premises.
Dr. Adupko said the presentations at the seminar would equip the students to help them in their development adding that “We want you to be responsible adults so this interaction will give you some form of exposure and knowledge on how to relate to each other”.
The Assistant Head, Domestic of UPSHS, Mrs. Rosemary Dare, said management of the school was poised to groom the students to become responsible leaders of the nation. She however noted that their efforts to realise this aspiration has come under serious threat because of negative practices like drug abuse, pornography, occultism, same sex activities among others which some of the students have been found to be practicing.
Mrs. Dare thanked CEGRAD for coming to the School’s assistance through the seminar noting that “discipline is a shared responsibility”.
Delivering a presentation on Basic Concepts in Gender, Ms. Amanda Odoi of CEGRAD, said roles assigned to gender determined the categorical difference between male and female. According to her, one’s gender could attract different social recognition from one culture to the other. “Gender comes with needs that are either practical or strategic” she stated.
A senior lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, UCC, Dr. Georgina Oduro, in her submission on Gender and Sexuality said sexuality had to do with identity, orientation, belief systems, and cultural values among others. She said, it could also refer to socio-cultural, biological or sexual preferences, stressing that “these inform the meaning we give to sexual behaviour and sexuality goes beyond sex”.
On the sources of sexuality, Dr. Oduro stated it could be acquired from different sources including school, work, peers, religion, social media, movies, music, and fashion. She advised the students to understand changes in their bodies, explaining that “at the adolescent stage you may be tempted to engage in unhealthy sexual practices”.
Dr. Oduro called on the students to confront the realities by approaching a professional counsellor when they face any difficulty as far as their sexual life was concerned. She said unhealthy sexual lifestyles may lead to several reproductive health issues which may lead to Sexually Transmitted Infections, Cervical Cancer “Psychologically, you will be going through the trauma of getting pregnant, it may also cause disability like obstetric fistula and the social consequence is poverty” she explained.
Dr. Oduro warned that most relationships at the adolescent stage did not end in marriage so they should concentrate on their studies. She urged the students to use their time productively, set goals for their lives and stand out as responsible individuals to achieve great things after their education.
Taking the students through the Psychological Effects of Pornography, Occultism and Substance Abuse, Dr. Michael Anim, said a survey he conducted in a particular city in Ghana involving 700 youth portrayed that most of them were engaged in watching pornography. He explained that pornography has to do with writings, images, sounds, speeches, words about prostitute and prostitution.
Dr. Anim said marijuana, cocaine, tramadol and other hard drugs attack the conscious areas of the brain and produce certain psycho-social effects which make the body behave abnormally. “Such individuals don’t have meaningful life; they are too anxious, feel isolated, uncontrolled and feel stressful in life,” he noted.
Dr. Anim further noted there were some influential people in society who normally lure the youth into such acts. “They use strategies like brainwashing and indoctrination to entice you into same sex, pornography, drug abuse and other unhealthy lifestyles,” she explained.