Eesha is a Social Sciences and Humanities undergraduate student. She is a passionate writer and loves using words to spread awareness.
Sex education has long since been a controversial topic in Pakistan. The word 'sex' is enough to make the common man perceive you as an abomination of society, someone from whom your children should be kept away. It is therefore un-surprising that sexual health education is not part of the educational curriculum. However, i wish to take the bull by the horns and address this topic in light of recent rape and sexual assault cases which come up at least twice a week.
Stereotypical attitudes are highly witnessed among teachers and pupils, which raises the question of literacy in the society. After all, isn't education supposed to liberate one from the confines of illiteracy? Nevertheless, it seems that even the highly educated members of society are knee deep in the rigid illiterate structures of society.
Despite the use of sexual innuendos towards females, and the rise of premarital intercourse, sex health education is ignored as it is felt to be going against Islamic teachings, breaking cultural rules and over-exposing children to ideas which are deemed to be taboo.
What cannot be talked about cannot be put to rest. And if it is not, the wounds will fester from generation to generation."
— Bruno Bettelheim
It is a widely instigated belief that sex education leads to more sex, thus aggravating social issues rather than solving them. Religion is used as a tool by rightist conservatives, who oppose any idea which they perceive to be against long-embedded cultural norms. Despite the slow rise of secularism in Pakistan, it has a long way to go in terms of sexual health awareness and safety.
Ironically, sex education would actually help prevent, or reduce, teenage pregnancies and diseases such as AIDS and STD. Most adolescent teens are unaware of these diseases, much less the symptoms.
Equally intensely concerning issues are that of sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation. Numerous incidents regarding harassment and rape are brought to notice, most involving girls aged 5-10, yet little has been done to teach children on how to recognize a prospective dangerous situation and how to prevent it.
Despite these cultural notions, it is essential for us, as a society, to ponder over this issue in a logical way, as sexual health education could be reduce many problems present in society.
Child sexual abuse is increasingly becoming an issue in Pakistan, yet not a single government has taken mandatory action to protect these children, the most effective method being sex Ed
Forced sex, pornography, nudes, and harassment all worsen in the absence of adequate sex health education. Besides helping to prevent teenage pregnancies, sexual health education highlights the unethical and inappropriate aspects of sex, hence providing exposure and reducing the possibility of sexual misbehavior among youth. How else do you expect a youngster to say 'No' to harassment if they cannot even identify that its harassment? How can you accuse a 16-year old girl for becoming pregnant if she has not been taught about the consequences?
From a psychological and individual point of view, sex education highlights the importance on self-respect, self-worth. Having multiple sexual partners or random sexual acts is physically, mentally and socially harmful, as besides possibility of diseases, social consequences such as blackmail and bullying can have a toll on mental health, which ultimately affects other aspects of life. According to NBC news, experiencing 'sexual harassment can either trigger symptoms of depression and anxiety that are new to the person; or it can exacerbate a previous condition that may have been controlled or resolved'. Whats more, 80% of honor killings, acid attacks and suicides are due to the inability to deal with the consequences of sexual acts. A rape victim would be forced to believe that it is her fault that she got rapped, and thus promote self-harm and self-loathing, ultimately resulting in severe depression, psychological disorder or suicide. The media pointedly overlooks this fact, as it is dominated by religious, social and political powers which demand that the subject of sex should not be addressed, lest a child's innocence is spoiled.
Sex is a normal, undeniable part of life, and should be treated as such. With or without the appropriate education, it is bound to happen. Despite this fact, our society repeatedly chooses to shut its eyes and eyes towards this growing need for proper exposure and education regarding the topic of sex. Most children learn about sex from websites, books or their peers. Parents ought to teach them step by step, starting with the very idea, or definition, of sex. Thus ,the child would learn that sex is not something to be stigmatized and would grow up to be a functional, ethical member of society, whose sexual energy has been properly channeled in a morally appropriate direction.
Despite the social backlash and reaction from extremist social groups, sex health education could still be provided to students in a subtle, culturally appropriate way until they are old old to be told directly;the concept of conception, sexual partners etc could be addressed then. The idea is to break the stigma of sex and to help prevent many of the negative occurrences in Pakistani society, not to criticize religious beliefs or encourage sex among young adults.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Eesha