Statistics can be made to prove anything – even the truth.

13 Nov

Statistics. Or, estatystix as 76.3% of Sudnese like to call it. I have always had a cautious and calculated relationship with Statistics, due largely in part to the rampant abuse of statistical figures. However, I have come across a statistic today that not only shook me to my core, but seriously altered my view of the situation in Sudan. Are you ready for the statistics?

The 2006 United Nations Children’s Fund Short-Duration Country Programme document–which was presented to the UN Executive and Economic council—reports the following:
“A recent study in the North found that 90 per cent of young people aged 19-24 years are sexually active but less than 10 per cent of them know how to prevent HIV or how and why to use condoms. In Southern Sudan, infection rates of over 20 per cent are being recorded at some voluntary and confidential counseling and testing (VCCT) sites.”

Ninety percent. Ninety. Dez3een berzent ya zol. I really wish this was something that I can dismiss as a bunch of hooey, but I tend to believe the UN. 90%. How could that be? In recent years, I have heard a lot about the fact that many young people in Sudan are now sexually active, which was incredibly shocking to me. As a Sudanese girl living abroad, I was ignorant about the young social scene in Sudan. Not only was I completely disconnected from the young culture, and new social norms, but I was also extremely misinformed about how Sudanese youngsters/teenagers are. If you casually scan the streets of Sudan, you will find most girls dressed modestly, either because she wears the hijab willingly, or she is pretending that the piece of fabric around her neck is hijab (further criticism of that situation coming soon.) The men seem sweet, decent, and even though a lot of them do not adhere to the “ladies first rule,” they do seem pretty decent.
That is what I love about Sudan. That is what I know about Sudan. So how is it, that this same population of people has a 90% sexual activity rate? I would like to venture a guess in defense of the staggering statistic and say that since the age group is 19-24, then it must be primarily made up of married people. While there might be some truth to that, I do not actually know many Sudanese people who are married before 24, females or males. Married people might account for some of that statistic, but 90% is clearly inclusive of most people. I really had no idea. The Hajirs, Azzas, Najlas, and Saras of Sudan seem to be getting busy with the Mujtabas, Mohameds, Alis, and Ammars. Now, when I get over my shock about the 90% Statistic, I will discuss the sickening and truly frightening statistic: only 10% know how or why to use condoms. *shudder*

3 Responses to “Statistics can be made to prove anything – even the truth.”

  1. Mustafa November 15, 2008 at 2:51 am #

    Wow… Thats crazy, but I’m wondering, what constitutes “sexually active”?

    And listen, as another young Sudanese person living abroad, the notion that young people in Sudan are all good and Allah-fearing was instilled in me in an early age, but I guess its just not the case…

    It’s now kind of funny in a weird and ironic way, but whenever I did something bad, my parents would always threaten me with “DO THAT AGAIN AND YOU’RE ON A ONE-WAY PLANE TO SUDAN!!“, but I’ve come to find out that if I was in Sudan, it would probably be easier for me to do the things that got me in trouble in the first place…

  2. optimist November 15, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    Ah that one-way plane to Sudan! I think most Sudanese parents used that trick. Oh and my parents were always pushing me to have more Sudanese friends, because they were convinced Sudanese girls are the best girls, and I am being corrupted by my Lebanese friends. Needless to say, the one time I actually did go out with a group of Sudanese friends, I was exposed to so many “gillat adab.” I think a lot of people who left Sudan, especially people living in Gulf countries, hold the belief that Sudanese youth are “untainted.” Not saying they are all bad, but 90%. Gee whiz.

  3. Anonymous November 17, 2008 at 4:12 am #

    Humans are humans are humans.

    Yes people do it all over the world.

    I remember the indignation of an expatriot Sudanese wahabi in the US at the UN statistics, which at the time showed a 70-something% sexual activity rate.

    Society can either help the youth do it in a way that mitigates STD / STI risks and is emotionally healthy, by facilitating their union with the one person they have feelings for and want to establish a family with.

    Or our Sudanese society can continue its charade by not addressing the nominally exorbitant cost of marriage and pretending that its youth will remain virginally pure until circumstances allow for them to get married, if that ever happens.

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