COMPULSORY SEX EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS
With every hour passing, India is advancing for better. But, this cannot be said in entirety. Sex or mere talking about sex is still a taboo in India. Yes, we have come a long way and people have started talking about it but still this is not the case in pan India. People think that even if they speak of it, it’ll encourage the youngsters into practicing it more. We need to address the fact that not talking about sex will not stop people, especially young kids from acting on it. Sexual engagement with another person with both the parties’ consent should not be made a huge deal about.
WHAT IS SEX EDUCATION?
The term sex education is used to describe education about a huge range of topics related to sex and sexuality. It includes talking about human sexual anatomy, reproduction and its repercussions. It explores about the values and beliefs that one needs to have to navigate relationships. Sex education is not just about the act but also other broad terms like healthy sex, managing one’s sexual health, measures to prevent unwanted pregnancy, and prevention from Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Sex is reality. One cannot stop it from happening if they just turn a blind eye towards it.
WHY IS SEX EDUCATION IMPORTANT?
A teenager goes and experiences a lot of things at the same time. Teenagers explore things, one such thing being their sexuality. They will at some point face changes like hormonal, psychological, and not just physical and mental changes. Their curiosity makes them discuss this with their friends and peers in order to gain more knowledge. Some resort to internet. Children are taught as menial things as toilet training then why are they left to fend for themselves for a thing as important as sex education which will be a huge part of their life in future. When they talk about sex to their peers, more often than never, they end up receiving incorrect or inadequate knowledge.
This leads to them developing wrong opinions about sex. A young kid needs correct and compete knowledge to understand the intricacies of this practice. Sex is not introduced to someone, it comes naturally. It is a natural biological process. If parents and schools don’t educate children about sex, they will find another medium to educate themselves. Responsible adults at home and in school should educate responsible adolescence. Simply brushing the issue underneath the carpet does no good to the growing individual. Ignorance is not bliss. Children should be taught what is right and what is wrong when it comes to sex. They should be taught what consent is.
Because of the large scale exposure to media whether paper, television or internet, children now have an easy access to sexually explicit content. Media influences children even if we don’t want them too. Children end up gaining knowledge from these sources and we have no control over what content reaches the children, good or bad. Many a times, media glorifies rape and by teaching children what consent is then rape can be prevented to an extent.
For example, if we see the number of offences related to sex, an alarmingly high number of the offenders are the youngsters or teenagers whose mental and emotional development about relations between genders are not developed. It means that they have not been taught what is good when intimacy is involved between people. There are many things that can be prevented if children are taught about sex and sex related things at a young age (middle school).
Sex education will prevent teen pregnancies. As sex education includes educating children about precautions that need to be taken to prevent unwanted pregnancy as well as Sexually Transmitted Diseases as mentioned earlier. Sex education should be taught to all genders. Just like girls, boys are also at a high risk of abuse and therefore there is a need for compulsory sex education in schools. Another reason why sex education is important is because by educating the young minds about sex, they will not be exploited.
There is a high chance that people who don’t know about sex end up being the victims of the crimes related to it. A significant number of child abuse and sexual assault that have been reported are the cases in which the victims had no clue about what was happening to them. Sex education will help keep check sexual abuses, harassment and molestation. Moreover, children will become responsible and better informed citizens in future. This will even help in controlling the population.
By educating the young minds about sex, myths related to it will be dispelled. School students already go through a lot as their body continuously changes and this is where sex education will come to place. Sex education will answer many questions that come to a teenager’s mind related to sex and sexuality. It is a healthy way of exposure. Through sex education they will get a positive perception of the human body of different genders and make them a responsible adult.
Sex education will help adolescents develop skills that are linked to general life skills such as listening, decision making, communicating, negotiating and learning to ask for what you and the other person wants. It will also teach children to identify sources of help and advice such as parents, professionals, and health and welfare services. These are life skills that not only apply to one’s sexual relation but also in other aspects of life in general.
They will be taught to identify situations in which they are being forced or pressurized to do something or they are forcing or pressurizing someone else to do something. They will be taught how to resist and deal with these situations. Teen pregnancy is often fatal and are often fatal among women aged fifteen to nineteen years. Education about family planning, contraception, and conception could help improve the situation and give the young women the choice to make their own informed decisions. This is why sex education should be made compulsory in schools.
Author: Saumya Shreya,
National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam (First Year)