In the India society, where more than half of the married women address their husbands as “Chintu ke Papa” (translation: Chintu’s father), talking about sex openly is not just embarrassing but disrespectful. Growing up in an environment of the similar sort has made me come up with this topic today. So, let’s talk about why sex education should be introduced in the Indian schools.
I am grateful to my parents for getting me schooled from Loreto, one of the best schools in the world. Thus, even though I was taught not to speak up in public only to be a “good girl”, Loreto taught me to speak up for myself in a respectful manner.
When we were in the third standard, our class teacher walked into the classroom one fine morning and started telling us that we should not allow any and every man to touch us and kiss us. As kids, we could hardly figure out what she was trying to convey. However, it took me only a year from then to figure out what I could not comprehend inside the safe walls of the classroom.
I reached my puberty sooner than expected. As soon as I hopped up to Standard Four and my body started showing signs enough to attract the lusty look in the eyes of the ever-horny men, since then, I cannot recall how many times I have been groped on the road while walking or while travelling. And, this act wasn’t restricted to my travelling all alone.
In middle school, we used to spend at least one class every week talking about what sex is and how we should protect ourselves from getting raped. Every time the latter topic was brought up, we hardly knew what we should do. My mother has always taught me that I should dress up decently and cover my body. I should walk straight and smart and not look at men to lure them. I should be reserved and what not. The list of what I should and what I should not is unending. I seriously wonder how many parents sat with their sons and shared the list of shoulds and should nots with the young male minds when they were in school.
Every time we get to know about women getting raped in India, thanks to the media coverage, we don’t always come across a scenario where the girl was walking down the road all alone wearing provocative clothes. In many cases, the girl is well-covered and is not even travelling alone late at night! Not just girls and beautiful women, even aged women and infants are ravished by that special inhumane male class roaming free.
Why exactly do these men choose to rape? Is it only the lust that dominates at that state of mind? Or is the upbringing that leads them to think that men are the superior and the powerful gender and, therefore, they do not need the permission to do whatever they feel like?
Unfortunately, even though the womenfolk have come out from the interiors of the house to work and excel at par with men, they are still considered as the weaker class. While the woman is expected to finish up all the household chores before going out to work, the man wakes up only to receive the morning tea served at the bedside table. I am not saying this happens compulsorily in every household. However, the majority families in India still follow the traditional biases.
Have these men ever been taught that women are not objects that they possess? Have these men been taught that it is important to respect women the way they expect the others to respect them?
Most of my friends who are men have told me that porn is what led them to visualise sex. Though they do not look down upon women, they agree that they had no idea how to treat a woman in their school days. Yes, they were afraid of belonging to the monstrous class of men; but they had no one to speak up to. They were afraid to approach the elders lest they be called perverts. And, their peers were not better off when it came to grasping the idea of sex. Thus, by the time they were ready to lose their virginity, most of them could not own up to their girlfriends that they are clueless.
Thus, in this scenario where having a vague idea could ruin a wonderful experience, why doesn’t the government of India implement sex education mandatorily in every school? Sex education is not going to destroy the future of our children. Rather, sex education will help in building a brighter future. Through sex education, the students will learn to look at sex as a form of love and not lust alone. The boys will understand that it is not okay to treat women as a source of pleasure. They will learn the difference between the reality and porn. They will learn to channelise their desire in the form of love. They will learn to use their strength to protect and not hurt. Most importantly, they will learn to appreciate the beauty of having sex.
In this country where a child grows up being hushed every time he or she feels inquisitive regarding this subject, it is essential that sex education be introduced in the schools. The children now have the access to the internet and it won’t take them long to come across clippings that would darken their hearts and minds forever. They need a person, a teacher in their lives, who would guide them into the world of sex. They need someone who can answer their queries such as when is the right time to have sex, how to take precautions, how to understand that your partner is ready for this commitment and others. Once every child grows up with this fresh understanding, the rape rate will automatically start decreasing.
Education is the key that can give rise to a healthy society. Keeping this context in mind, sex education is the key that can eventually free the society of sexual assaults. So, it is time to get rid of the social and religious taboos. It is time to embrace that times have changed and our mindset should too. It is time to help our children respect the opposite sex and free their minds of all evil. It is time to introduce sex education mandatorily in every school.
Shreya Dutta is the Founder & Creative Head of StarWords India and the author of “Dance in the Rain”. She is an engineer by qualification and a writer by passion. Years ago, when little girls were jotting down their bucket list, Shreya was lost in her dreamland in which she was immortal. Dutta had started off writing at an early age because she believed that writing not only helped her to voice her opinion but also led her closer to immortality. With every write-up that gets published, Shreya believes that she gets embedded in the pages of history to inspire the youngsters who dream likewise. Writing is not just her passion; it is her way of taking the road less travelled.