Elizabeth Taylor once said, “It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance.” That pretty much summarizes the need for sex education. Most opponents of sex education vociferously argue that children and the entire community at large do not need sex education as our ancestors did not have it. Most people, who challenge the need for sex education, miss the point that HIV /AIDS did not exist at that point of time. Earlier, HIV/AIDS was known as GRID, Gay Related Immune Deficiency, as it was mistakenly believed that this condition exits only amongst homosexuals. It was only in the year 1981 that the first case of HIV/AIDS was confirmed in the
An additional issue that has to be seriously dealt with during sex education is abortion. “The
Sex education should ideally be started at the primary level than during high school. When we talk about sex education during the primary school years, it doesn’t imply that we need to educate our 6-7 year olds regarding childbirth, pregnancy, contraception and HIV/AIDS. What it does mean is that we have to make our children aware of the fact their bodies are sacred, that they have a right to privacy and that no one can violate them. So in case of the tragedy that a child does fall victim to a paedophile, he/she knows that it should be reported to a trusted family member so that the criminal is brought to the book, the crime is further prevented and that the child receives appropriate medical treatment for any physical or psychological damage that may have been caused.
Sensitization of the sexes to each others need is an issue that can and must be addressed during the course of sex education. Such a topic is ideal for people over the age of 15 when they are better equipped to understand sexual relations and intimacy. Of course only psychiatrists, teachers, child psychologists and other experts are capable of determining whether it should be taken up earlier. Men and women need to be made aware of the fact that even within a marriage or an intimate relationship, consent to sex is relevant and necessary and that consent cannot be taken for granted. Both genders need to understand that marital rape does happen and that it should be punished. At the same time, we need to realize that even a man can be harassed and tormented in a relationship, may be not sexually but in other ways. Their problem should be appropriately redressed.
The legal facet of sexual relations and sexual issues should be identified and adequately dealt with. Sex education should comprise of legislation apropos to concerns such as human trafficking, prostitution, child marriage, dowry, child abuse and drug abuse. The path breaking Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill, 2001 must also be inculcated in the education curricula. This shall help make people aware of their legal rights, impress upon their minds the legal implications of sexual violence and hopefully start a fruitful tradition of public discussions and participation in legislation and their better implementation.
When Bill Gates donated $100 million for HIV/AIDS prevention in India, many commented that 100 million was disproportionately large given the nature and the extent of the problem in India. We have the highest number of People Living with HIV/AIDS. It is worth keeping in mind that the only country in
As a nation facing severe problems with regards to child marriage, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, gender discrimination and skewed sex ratios, it is high time we tackle these issues head on and solve minimize them to the maximum possible degree. We must stop being foolish and say that “Indian culture” does not permit sex education. The above mentioned problems harm