PUTTING A STOP TO ADULT-CHILD SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS
Blesser Breakers’ mission is to prevent cross-generational relationships and reduce the sexual exploitation of children across Zambia, emphasizing grade 8-10 girls. Our work encourages the girl students to reject risky cross-generational relationships, influence cultural norms within their communities, and address these girls' needs in a healthier manner. Adults illegally exploit young girls and boys by giving them money and gifts in exchange for sex. These adults, referred to as “Blessers,” typically have been sexually active for a long time and have had several sexual partners, and thus are a high-risk group to transmit HIV to minors. Young girls are less able to insist on abstinence or safe sex practices when partnered with an adult which increases the risk of unplanned pregnancy and forces them to drop out of school.
Adolescent Girls and young women are prime gender-based violence targets, including incest, sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, early and forced marriage, marital rape, female genital mutilation, sexual exploitation, and trafficking and they may face elevated risks of violence, discrimination, stigma, compounding the risks of HIV. Therefore, when enacting HIV policies, programs, or strategies, it is important to include this population in all the discussions as they are the ones who know how best they could be helped given their circumstances, instead of copying and pasting policies. Looking at it from a human-rights-based approach would also be highly beneficial, in providing the best-suited HIV prevention strategies that are participatory in nature.
Quotes from Kanyonyo Girls Secondary School Student Participants
"I am very happy for the lesson on teaching us how to protect ourselves."
“I will say no to every blesser that comes to me.”
“I can say thank you for the advice. Blessers can ruine our lives and as young girls we should obey our parents.”
“I want to finish school and achieve my dreams.”
Quotes from St. Johns Secondary School Student Participants
“I want to finish school and achieve my dreams!”
“According to me the Blesser Breakers has really done a great job by visiting my school and teaching girls about those nasty selfish people out there trying to ruin young girls lives.”
"You should never trust a blesser!"
"You are doing a good job teaching young girls."
Quotes from Namushakende Secondary School Student Participants
“These lessons should be given to each and every girl!”
“I would love to tell young girls and boys to stay away from sex.”
“I will never be in a relationship with an old man.”
Quotes from Limulunga Secondary School Participants
"We should protect our selves by saying no to blessers!"
"Yes it is dangerous to be in a relationship with adults."
"Please pray for our dreams."
Blesser Breakers aims to support Zambia’s movement towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, and 5: ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; and, finally, to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Within these goals, the team has identified four main targets with which the organization's mission aligns. Furthermore, Blesser Breakers intends to support Zambian law of protecting the rights of women and girls.
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