I watched the story of Alfie Patten, 13, and his girlfriend Chantelle Steadman, 15, unfold over the last week. The two kids had a baby and now it emerges that there are two other teenagers claiming paternity. It’s turned into a Jeremy Kyle-esque DNA test fiasco that’s now set to play out in the press.
There’s also a sinister element emerging of Chantelle-as-predatory-slapper and Alfie as innocent boy-child. But clearly these were just two kids with little sex education or knowledge of consequences. Or maybe they’re vying for the much-desired fame/infamy that is the one true goal of all people of that generation – a spread in that day’s red tops. I also find it a bit strange that this story is in the papers – who went to the papers with it and what was their motivation? There is nothing unique about this case.
I did find it slightly disturbing that such a young girl would have slept with so many boys in the window of time that it was possible for her to get pregnant in, but at the same time I was sexually active when I was 15. But I sure as hell made certain that I had studied the crap out of my biology book, which explained the reproductive system and I chose the time of my cycle where it was virtually impossible for me to get pregnant and I used a condom.
At that age, I was simply terrified of the idea of getting pregnant – mainly because I didn’t understand how it all happened. My grandmother once told me over the opening credits of Look Who’s Talking about the dangers of sperm and how I should be very careful around that stuff, and especially make sure not to let any of it get on me or in the vicinity of my thighs.
I come from a family that didn’t really discuss sex. If I asked any questions, I was given a fair and honest answer, but mostly I would have been too mortified to raise such a topic of conversation as a teenager. I left the room when Bodyform ads came on. I was that teenager. But I still knew it was important to find out the basics by whatever means.
Surely, it is time to make sure that all children at least understand the basics of sex and reproduction, no matter how cringe-worthy it is for us olds?