Yesterday I covered my last class for Krissy. She was tired from her redeye and didn't have it in her to go right back to work, who can blame her? So I teach this sweet little girl Valentina and after we finish my boss Jay asks if he can talk with me for a minute. Again it's running through my head, "Crap, what did I do!?" While I'm waiting for him, I chat with this teenaged girl who's studying in the office. I had never seen her before, but she told me her name and that she knew Krissy and has been at this school a while. Then Jay pulls me into a classroom. And then he begins....
"Jessica's been at this school a while. And she's a sophomore. She's a middle child...and uh, kind of feels like the ugly duckling of the family. And uhhh recently she had this boyfriend and they just broke up. "
Like do you want me to teach her or date her? I'm so confused about what's going on here. Then it comes....
"Well they just, you know, had sex, and she got kind of worried about being pregnant. No,no she's not worried anymore....but you, could you, uh, talk to her. About girl stuff."
No problem!!! Jay, do you know my mom works for Planned Parenthood, I'm an expert on this stuff!! So she comes in, a lot more confidently than I would be talking to some older foreign chick I only met 4 minutes ago, and we start chatting. She tells me about her boyfriend, why they're kind of breaking up, and her pregnancy scare. First off, kids are not taught sex ed period here. There is no talk of sex. You are not supposed to do it until you're married, end of story. No talky, no happeny.
She didn't think it was OK for her to buy condoms because that's the boy's responsibility. Show me a responsible 16 year old boy! Paaalease. I very casually and openly explained to her that girl's need to keep their bases covered. And more than that, go get birth control. In a country where sex isn't talked about (although adultery and prostitutes are common), it's easy to get. 7,000 won over the counter at any pharmacy. The poor thing had no idea how it worked, not one of her friends have it , and she definitely, 100 million %, could not talk to anyone in her family about it. Then I went onto why you need condoms and birth control. Child didn't know what herpes, HPV, or Clamydia were! She didn't even know that HIV was a risk in Korea. It's so upsetting to see a teenager in this position with no where to go. Thank god she and Jay have a pretty open relationship and she could ask him for help. Otherwise it's go home prego at 16 in a country where abortion is illegal!
So, I was soooo soo happy to be able to help, but just so sad for her. She said a lot of her friends (of the few she even told) didn't approve, and the ones that were open to it certainly had no experience. PS this boy that she slept with was an American. She said she had been out with Korean guys and they had never pressured her in any way....hmmmm.
Korea needs to do some serious overhaul on their health education. Teenagers are everywhere. They will have sex. Even if they don't they will eventually. Let's get some dialogue going people.