Talking about sex and contraception

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Which is worse to be embarrassed to say the word "condom" or to have an unwanted pregnancy?

That was the question posed by children's rights activist Dr Hartini Zainuddin during a live Twitter discussion hosted by R.AGE, The Star's youth platform, on the topic of baby dumping (#BabyDumping).

Malaysian youth took to R.AGE's Twitter account (@thestar_rage) to voice their views on the increase in reported baby dumping cases, and many said it was the result of the taboo surrounding sex and contraception which leads to unwanted pregnancies, and ultimately, an increase in baby dumping.

Hartini weighed in on the debate through her Twitter account (@tiniz), tweeting: "We're not communicating with kids and allowing them the space to talk about sex and options!

"Look at statistics for the number of teen pregnancies too (they have) gone up too."

One user, @fetchmyrevolver, said: "The taboo of talking/teaching about sex in this culture is a huge factor. Being educated allows making smart choices."

@Fahmy93, added: "@thestar_rage People are embarrassed to even say the word condom' in public. Teach your children the ways of safe sex!

"If we took the time to properly educate the young ones, we might not have babies to dump."

According to other respondents, the social stigma surrounding unwanted pregnancies pushed young people to consider abortion or baby dumping.

One twitterer, a 25-year-old, said he knew "a few friends" below 20 who have already had abortions.

"The boyfriends, college guys, took care of it. Most of them were in their first year of college," tweeted @waves_online.

@SammieTSL added: "Malaysian families & culture socially are very strict, and usually don't deal with nonsense' like this."

Digital culture commentator Niki Cheong (@nikicheong) said: "(It's also caused by) a lack of options. Who can they talk to about it, what can they do, who will help them?"

Actress and TV host Sazzy Falak agreed that the lack of sex education was to blame.

"Sex is considered to be a taboo subject. Younger kids lack knowledge when it comes to prevention because premarital sex is a baaaaad thing. But kids are doing it anyway," she tweeted.

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