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A group of young amateurs used videos to create safe spaces for their peers on having safe and consensual sex

25 August 2018

A group of young people released three short videos portraying perceptions and concerning issues of Cambodian young people around safe and consensual sex to mark the global event, International Youth Day. This year’s theme was celebrated globally under the theme of “Safe spaces for young people”.

 

 

 

Our Youth will someday be our future leaders and are today the hope of a better tomorrow”, emphasized Mr. Daniel Alemu, UNFPA Deputy Representative at the launch of videos made by young people.

 

With the intention to provide such safe spaces for youth, UNFPA Cambodia, supported groups of outstanding youth from the UN Youth Advisory Panel to examine the perceptions of their peers on safe and consensual sex.

 

 

 

 

“None of the ambitious global goals can be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people. Young people are our future. And - 1.8 billion strong - they are our present”, quoted Dr. Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director from her statement to mark this critical event.

 

The videos captured stories and perspectives of young people around harmful practices and norms preventing many youth from exercising their sexual and reproductive rights to lead their healthy lives.

 

“It is not the story of one”, titled a video describing a true story of the young man who started sexual relationship without proper knowledge of safe and consent. “We made love a few times in the last few months. However, I stopped schooling and kept a distance from her after learning from a friend that she was pregnant”, said the man captured in the video.

 

 

 

The second video presents a story of the woman who had experienced the arranged marriage and sexual violence for five years. “When I disclosed my story to my parents and siblings; they placed blame on me. Finally, I decided to undergo a divorce and keep a distance from my family”, said the woman, the main actor in the video.

 

The last video spotlights perceptions of the high school youth residing in Kampot province, southwest of Cambodia on what does safe and consensual sex mean to them and how and where youth can access information and services on sexual and reproductive health.

 

With one fifth of the population aged between 15-24, Cambodia has the potential to reap a demographic dividend and be on a more sustainable path of development if critical investments are made now in this adolescents and youth population.

 

However, many young Cambodian people are struggling for better lives, in particular girls -- 20% of female youths aged 15-30 still face sexual violence from their intimate partner, and one in eight adolescent girls is already a mother or is currently pregnant with their first child.

 

By producing these short videos, they present stories and perspectives that underlie the power of youth to drive positive social change”, stressed Mr. Alemu

 

 

 

I am excited that my voice is heard,” Ms. Monika Nuon confidently noted, “I feel I am empowered by the engagement of making a video.”

 

In 1999, the UN General Assembly declared and observed the first International Youth Day. The day is an annual celebration not only of raising awareness of the challenges and hardships facing the world’s youth, it is a critical opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of young women and men as essential partners in promoting peace, development and human rights.

 

We must include all the young voices that too often go unheard. When we empower, equip and give them space, they can pursue their dreams and hopes”, concludes the UNFPA Deputy Representative, Mr. Alemu.