Shame – A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour.
The other day I saw a school girl, not older than 13, walking with a friend of hers on their way home. It was a busy afternoon and many people were going about their business, not really fazed by the sight of many school children on their way home. In the case of these girls however, I was forced to pause; as they passed by me, I could not help but wonder how as a society we had allowed ourselves to come this far. What really bothered me was the fact that people passing her were not even bothered with what they saw, only content to pretend that they did not see anything wrong. What made me pause was the very obvious fact that the young girl was most certainly over 5 to 6 months pregnant.
What has happened to our sense of shame? Have we let the children of this generation grow up without any sense of what is and what is not acceptable? The mere fact that we have made it okay for a 12 year of child to not only have an abortion, but she does not even need to inform her parents about it. For a country that is asking itself how it can protect women against abuse and crimes, it is illogical to make a law that accommodate sexual activities by a 12 year old on one hand and call sex with the very same 12 year old a crime on the other.
The big drive for “rights” without any emphasis on the responsibility that comes with those so called “rights” has resulted in a failed experiment at trying to accommodate everyone. Bombarded with messages of “safe sex”, children have come to the conclusion that it is okay for them to have sex, just as long as it is “safe”. The fact that their older brothers and sisters are constantly talking about how great sex is does not help the situation, which can lead to the younger ones engaging in sexual activities before they are even fully developed physically, mentally and emotionally to handle the repercussions that may result from engaging in sex.
Women, especially those who are considered role models, are said to be taking charge of their sexuality when they have sex with whomever they are in a relationship with and if that results in a child being born, then single motherhood labeled as heroic. But how heroic is it for a 12 year old to be a mother, someone who cannot even take care of themselves? The family ends up being the one which looks after the child, with the boy’s family most likely not involved in the raising up of the child.
If one was to point out that it is irresponsible to have sex outside the constraints of marriage, one is branded as backwards and desiring to oppress the sexual rights and freedoms of our people. These “rights” have effectively removed the idea of shame, because it is viewed as a tool used by the narrow-minded to oppress people.
But what has resulted from the removal of shame?
Children no longer care what their parents say or do, because it is their right to express themselves the way they want to. No longer can a parent tell their child what is right and wrong because it has been declared that these distinctions are no longer necessary, because what was once considered wrong is now acceptable behaviour.
There are constant drives to elevate the state of women in our society, but in most cases those in roles of authority still see women as sexual objects.
Domestic abuse, rapes and murders are constantly occurring because men do not feel shame or remorse when it comes to exerting their physical dominance on women.
Government official spend public funds excessively without shame because they know that their political connections will protect their actions and most members of the public feel powerless to do anything about it; while they fail to help people whom they have sworn to assist.
South Africa is said to have the most liberal constitution in the world – yet because the restraints of shame have been effectively cut off, nothing is denied to anyone who wants to fight for it. Yet what is interesting is the use of shame to try to silence those who speak out against the shameless behaviour that is exhibited, especially amongst young people. For instance, if one fights against 12 year olds having sex and getting abortions, liberalists will tell you that these children have rights too; but the parent who brought this child into the world no longer has a say, yet they are still expected to look after both their child and the soon to arrive grandchild.
Shame on all of us for allowing this to happen.