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Is sex education a taboo?

Introduction

The webinar began with Ms. Kavareeb throwing in a question,  “How hard it is to talk about a subject like sex education in schools?”

The two speakers on the panel were asked to give their views.

Ms.Kavita was of the opinion that talking about a sensitive matter such as this, can be cumbersome because, “parents are terrified.” Further, she sounded hopeful that sex education will become a part of the school’s curricula, as efforts are being made by NCERT. However, this hope of hers suddenly lost it’s light as she painfully stated that, implementing such a  curriculum would require proper policies in place which are lacking.

Next,  Srijani spoke about how sex education is a topic that is almost never discussed, despite the books that are flooded with no information. The teachers often skip parts that are uncomfortable, not only to the students but also for himself/herself, and there is a lack of enthusiasm to bring awareness among students.

PrabhatSir, placing his point on the table stated that serious “amendments are required in the teaching process. He quoted that, “sex education is not the teaching process but it is the mentoring process.”

Ms. Kavereeb, in a further discussion, asked  Mr. Harjeet to give his views and to shed some light on the legal implications of introducing sex education in schools.

Harjeet Sir expressed by saying that, “sex education is not limited to genitalia but it is a very big circle that contains gender sensitivity laws and safety of people and especially children.” He further went onto talk about the concept of consent, contraceptives and it’s importance during intercourse.

Bringing in the concept of child Abuse he explained the legislation of POSCO, Act 2012

He laid down certain points of relevance,

  • POCSO is a gender-neutral Act that applies to both girls and boys.
  • It lists down all known sexual offenses towards minors
  • It makes provisions for mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse by the police to the Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours once a complaint is received.
  • It has mandatory provisions for recording the statement of the survivor in a non-threatening environment by police officers in plain clothes so as not to appear intimidating.
  • To record the statement, police officers must go to a place of the minor’s choice and record the statement in the presence of a person that he/she trusts.
  • Only female doctors can collect forensic evidence from a minor in a medico-legal case in the presence of a person of trust.
  • It mandates the protection of minors at all stages of the judicial process, including ensuring that their identity is not revealed, nor do they have to face the accused.
  • The minor’s testimony can be given using a video link, and he/she is not made to repeat the testimony in court at any time.
  • The trial must end within 1 year from the date of registering the complaint against the accused.
  • The defence cannot ask any questions directly to the minor in an aggressive manner, and must route all questions through the judge.
  • The court must make arrangements for the presence of an interpreter, translator, special educator, social worker, or any other expert in the courtroom for the minor’s assistance.
  • Compensation must be provided to the minor for medical treatment and rehabilitation in case of sexual abuse.
  • It mandates that teachers, management and all employees of educational and other institutions must be made aware of the provisions of the Act, and they have a duty to report cases of child abuse as per the provisions in Sections 19(I) and 21

The panelists spoke to Srijan, who is a school going student and tried to understand what a student would think about intimacy and relations. She stated that, “it depends upon the person to person with whom children get comfortable to share certain spheres of their lives.”

The student believed that, "female desire and sexuality is oppressed as compare to the male ones, and still considered a taboo."

Mr. Prabhat was questioned on a rather, embarrassing matter for most parents, that is the sexual relation of their child.  Parents often refuse to acknowledge the sexual relations of their children, priding themselves over their children’s “innocence” and “purity”.

Sir, answered by saying that, it is upto the parents to decide the safety of their children because, with the lack of proper guidance from parents, they often fall prey to the resources on the internet or magazines, which cannot be trusted. He further addedthat, schools too need to actively take part in imparting knowledge on the subject, and not shy away from the biology of beings.

Ms. Kavita queried as to  “why sex education cannot be called self-awareness?”

Mr. Harjeet was of the opinion that, it is the duty, though painful, of the parents to talk to the children about sex education and make them aware of the difference between affection and the evils and darkness that surrounds sexual relations.

Pornography was chosen as the next topic, which forms an important part of a child’s life because of the curiosity and the willingness to explore a hidden world. Pornography is not the best away to attain knowledge about sexual intercourse, and is arguably, one of the worst sources of any knowledge whatsoever.

India has a few legislations dealing with pornography, which are re-produced below;

  • The selling and distribution of pornographic material is illegal in India under section 292
  • The distribution, sale, or circulation of obscene materials and the selling of pornographic content to any person under age 20 years are illegal under section 293 and IT Act-67B.
  • Child pornography is illegal and strictly prohibited across the country under section 67B of the Information Technology Act, 2000
  • The manufacturing, publishing and distribution of pornography is illegal in India under section 292, 293.

 

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