Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Sex Education Debate

I was just reading a pair of articles on the BBC World website about the debate on sexual education in India. They outlined the proposition and opposition arguments on this obviously divisive issue.
The web pages are at the following addresses:
- Pro-sex education arguments - Anti-sex education arguments
Before I go into discussing the inherent issues on both sides of the debate, I would like to clarify my stance on the issue: I am for sex-education taught in Indian schools, however it needs to be taught with discretion and at the appropriate age.
Now that I have stated my preference, I will endeavour to keep all my arguments as logical and unbiased as possible so that the reader of this post goes back with an unbiased knowledge of the issues involved.
First look at the reasons for the prevention of sex-education being taught in schools:
  1. India is a conservative country with conservative values and we should not do anything to destroy them
    Although India is considered to be conservative currently, our heritage has been far from conservative. Our ancestors were people who broke the mould - they discussed academically and with little hesitation or embarrassment issues that today would be considered blasphemy including sex. The gurus and learned men of ancient times took all aspects of human life from warfare to household chores, politics to sex (notably the manual know as the KAMASUTRA) and delved into them, researched them, TAUGHT about them to the multitudes. This is both a salute to their capability to be impartial academics and a chronicle to tremendous power of the human mind. The POINT is that if we decide to stop change or progress, somehow the human mind will find a way around it. After all Indian youngsters are becoming more open-minded and are getting exposed to the west in other ways as well, TV and movies being major inputs, where sex is shown in a very glamorous light. So tell me where did those conservative values disappear? Further those politicians who deplore the growing westernisation of our culture, themselves send their kids using public money to foreign countries where these kids themselves are promiscuous. How is it fair that these children get to enjoy while for political reasons the many others in our homeland are denied knowledge they could use to protect themselves. THIS smells of HYPOCRISY!!
  2. Politicians and other activists feel that the introduction of sex education in schools will pollute the young minds and further exacerbate the problems that sex education is meant to resolve.There is a chance that youngsters will get negatively affected by such education. If such education is provided to youngsters without proper discretion it may encourage promiscuity and the mission of keeping youngsters safe from the dangers of unsafe sexual practices and prevention of child abuse is lost.
    However if such education is well researched and constructed to inform the child about the dangers of unprotected sex i.e. STD's & unwanted pregnancies, as well as educating it about sexual abuse from adults, then our country's children will be prepared in the event that they do face such situations and will be able to take informed decisions about what actions they should take.
    For example: Child is a victim of sexual abuse from an adult => Without sexual education it would not even know that what is being perpetrated against it => It would go on believing that what is happening is okay, either because it does not know any better or because the perpetrator either keeps the child silent using coercion or threats.Another example: Two youngsters get carried away by the rush of emotions caused by their puberty driven hormones => In a country like ours where parents do not discuss sex with children AT ALL, these two do not realise the physical draw that their emotions are creating between them => They end up making the obvious mistake => When the boy realizes the gravity of the situation he will surely prefer his freedom to raising a child when he is one himself => Results in the girl child having to face family, disowning and the backlash from society => Unfortunately our society looks at these issues in BLACK & WHITE => The GIRL is responsible for everything, she is tainted without her virginity.