By Benjamin Flowers
Teaching Kriol slave history is an essential tool in addressing early and risky sexual activity in youth, says Mynra Manzanares, the cultural representative for the National Kriol Council.
Manzanares, responding to the results of the 2014 Country Report on Knowledge, Practices, and Attitudes (KAP) toward persons living with HIV/AIDS, commissioned by the NAC, said that much of the sexual practices observed in Kriol youths relate directly to their slave ancestry.
That connection, she emphasized, needs to be taught to them at an early age so they can understand the inclination towards risky behavior patterns, and be empowered to make better choices.
Under the slave system, she explained, men had to have multiple sex partners because they were required to breed female slaves to bear offsprings for sale.
Coupled with the fact that they could be sold at anytime, leaving whatever established family they had behind, slavery conditioned Kriol men to not value the family structure.
Women similarly, would take on multiple partners because their husbands would be sent into the forest for half a year at a time to work in the logwood industry.
“These things carry real psychological trauma, much of which is passed down through generations.” Manzanares said.
“I don’t see them teaching this history in the schools. If education is to be the tool to address early sexual behavior, then they need to include the cultural aspect of these behaviors.”
The 2014 Country Report on Knowledge, Practices, and Attitudes (KAP) toward persons living with HIV/AIDS, a study commissioned by the National AIDS Commission and carried out by the Statistical Institute of Belize, was released on Wednesday, September 16.
The findings showed that Kriol youths between ages 15-45 had the highest rate of sexual encounters, andare among the highest for sexual contact before the age of 15.
Kriol youths had the highest rate of multiple sex partners also, putting them at greater risk for contracting HIV/AIDS, and many other sexually transmitted infections.
The NAC has identified the lack of education as being a pertinent cause in early and risky sexual behavior, and has said that the report will aid in crafting targeted interventions to help vulnerable groups address those issues.
The KAP study was funded through the 9th round of the Global Fund Resource Disbursement for HIV Projects.