WEIRD: The sex initiation camp where 10-yr-old girls are sent by their families to lose their virginity

In Malawi young girls are sent to initiation camp where they learn how to have sex and in some cases lose their virginity.

These girls as young as 10-years-old are made to attend initiation camp, which is considered a rite of passage. They are sent by their families to make sure they are accepted into their communities as adults while being told they are attending a camp with their friends, but when they arrive they are shown how to have sex and told they must lose their ‘child dust’ as soon as they can or they will get a skin disease.

One young girl named Grace who, at the time, was only 10-years-old and very excited when she learned that she would be going to summer camp with her friends. All the girls her age that lived in her southern Malawi village were going to this initiation camp. The initiation camp took place not far from her home in Golden Village, where Grace lives with her grandmother.

Speaking with a group of journalists visiting Malawi with the United Nations Foundation, Grace said during her week-long stay, she was taught about respecting her elders and doing household chores, but also how to have sex by the women that led the camp who are known as known as anamkungwi, or ‘key leaders’. The women demonstrated sexual positions and encouraged girls to do ‘sexual cleansing,’ also called kusasa fumbi, which meant they should get rid of their inexperience with sex through practice. But they were not taught about the risks of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases or how to protect themselves. They were forbidden from using condom.

“You should be dancing if you have a man on top of you, making him happy,” she was told.

According to Joyce Mkandawire, the communications advisor for the Girls Empowerment Network said many girls are often not given the choice and sometimes adult men (known as hyenas) are hired by the girl’s own parents. These men come into the girls’ room at night to have sex with them. During the initiation ceremonies, many girls have unprotected sex with a man to prepare them for womanhood. Without undergoing this process, a girl was considered to be a child and was therefore illegible for marriages.

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