In India, every time someone utters the word “sex”, dirty looks are thrown their way from every direction. A person cannot speak about one’s sexual orientation without it being considered shameful and erroneous. Society does not permit a woman to talk freely about her menstruation troubles and intimate hygiene.
Despite striving to become a developed nation, India has not taken any drastic measures to curtail the numbers of sexual exploitation and abuse cases that are mushrooming every day. Since the sexual assault of Nirbhaya in 2012, nothing much has changed. From 3-year olds to 90-year olds, a person falls victim to brutal rape every 15 minutes. Statistics says that there has been a 500% increase in reported rape cases over the past decade.
Due to unawareness about moral and sex education, a person tends to choose the wrong paths in life and force someone to satisfy the needs of their bodies. I am not trying to insinuate that rapists didn’t know better. We can not undo what has happened. But, we can hopefully prevent more cases stemming in the coming days. Change starts with consent and education about consent.
The school curriculum in India comprises all the necessary subjects we might need in life, or so they say. We educate adolescents, but not morally educate them. Many perpetrators of unspeakable crimes have despicable notions of sex. India needs to infuse awareness of sexual assault and exploitation into the school curriculum.
In 2020, India reformed its National Education Policy. Yet, a crucial subject seems to have been omitted from the curriculum – sex education. Not a huge surprise there. Most countries include sex education starting at age 10. In spite of having the second-largest population in the world, India seems to think of it as “inappropriate” and “vulgar”.
Sex education is an imperative subject that instils values and morals about sex, sexuality and sexual health in young people and explores the cognitive, emotional, physical, and social aspects of sex and sexuality. It empowers them with a sense of responsibility towards others and themselves. It helps them develop respectful social and sexual relationships. By learning the right things at the right age, they understand themselves better.
Indian parents shy away from talking about these topics to their children. Consequently and unintentionally, they steer their children to seek answers from other detrimental sources that saturate them with dark fantasies and lust. Pornography plays a huge role in teaching today’s youth about sex. What they fail to understand is that the images portrayed in it are not genuine. The acts undergo manipulation to seem visually appealing. These modifications mislead them and create a false perception of sex in their minds.
The need of the hour is to educate children from a tender age. They need to be taught:
- about their different internal and external parts at 3.
- to differentiate between good touch and bad touch at 5.
- to maintain good friendly relationships by the time they turn 7.
- about the changes like menstruation, erection, ejaculation that happen during puberty at 9.
- about love, intimacy, intercourse, and the importance of conceptions at 14.
It is the underlying political ideologies that limit the classroom discussions to boring sciences and mathematics. But, the purpose of education is much more than that. We shouldn’t have to demand sex education. It is a necessity for transforming people into respectful and informed individuals.