On June 16th, 2019, I had an interview with Inez Nieves, a rising senior at Fleming Island High school in Florida. When asked “if you could change one problem in our society, what would it be?” she responded with the following:
“I think for me right now, in this time, what I think would be the most significant problem that we have to tackle is sexual assault on both aisles of the genders and from one end to the other on the gender spectrum. And I think that that starts with changing our attitude, as a society, about the way we view sex, particularly for the youth of this generation. I’m not necessarily referring to how we view victims but also how we view perpetrators, because I feel like what we miss a lot in that conversation is that we’re not explaining properly what sex is or at least without a holistic view or objective view without our emotions – whether it be religious or just personal. What ends up happening is that, not only do the victims of sexual assault or rape or groping end up being hurt – it’s also those committing it who, just because of the lack of ignorance most of the time, don’t realize what they’re doing.
So I feel like in order to progress as a society we need to acknowledge that sex is not something that’s taboo or evil or even like cardinal – it’s a natural part of our life and we just have to accept that, and in accepting that we have to accept that in order to have sex you need to know what sex is and how to do it, how do you get consent, how do you protect yourself. Like these are just practicalities of adult life and I think when we don’t explain that to kids, we’re not teaching them the gravity of it. We expect them to understand that it’s such a huge thing – that it’s like it will change your life forever, but you don’t really convey that if you’re not teaching them about it if you don’t talk about it. Because it was just something like “oh, I’ll do it once and I’ll never have to pay for the consequences.”
You have heard Inez Nieves’ answer to the question. Now what is yours? If you could change one problem in our society what would it be? What steps should be taken to resolve that problem?
Like Inez, no teenager or young adult should shy away from this question. It’s a question that can lead to one finding what one is passionate about. It’s a question that acknowledges that our society isn’t perfect and has flaws. It’s a question that can lead to one wanting to take action and evoke change. In this day and age, more and more youth are making a difference in both small and big ways. Not just in my home state, FL, not just in the U.S, but around the world. Let’s join this community of youth and positively change our world. Let’s start by asking ourselves the simple question: “If I could change one thing in our society, what would I change?
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