Columbia, SC — November is Child Safety and Protection Month, which makes most of us think of wearing bicycle helmets and teaching kids how to stop, drop and roll. But as our children grow and mature, it’s critical that our view of protection and safety grows and matures with them.
Three million teenagers in the United States contract a sexually transmitted infection every year. Richland County has the highest HIV infection rate in the state, and half of all new HIV infections are among 15- to 25-year-olds. Just a few short decades ago, the public was dealing with only two common sexually transmitted infections, and they were both curable; today, there are more than 25.
Our students can make healthy choices when they are armed with the right information. This has to start with a conversation. Not “the talk,” but an ongoing dialogue between parents and children that starts much earlier than you might think.
Real abstinence-based sex education is not about scare tactics. It’s about presenting factual, medically accurate information, and giving students the freedom to choose the healthiest option for themselves. Authentic abstinence-based sex education tells the whole story, not just about the physical aspect of sexual activity but about the emotional, mental and relational aspects as well. It doesn’t gloss over the fact that sex often equals drama during the teenage years. It empowers students to take control of their lives. Until our students get all of the facts, we will continue to see a rise in sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancy.
At Daybreak Crisis Pregnancy Center, we offer a free after-school program for middle and high school girls in four counties. We speak about abstinence, sexually transmitted infections, teen pregnancy and relationships, and we reached more than 2,000 students in the Midlands in 2012.
With knowledge comes power. With knowledge comes freedom. And with knowledge comes the very best outcomes for students in South Carolina. I am proud to teach abstinence-based sex education to my students, because I believe that abstinence equals freedom.
Youth Program Coordinator
Daybreak Crisis Pregnancy Center