Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Indians dont have Sex, babies just happen!

Rahul Bose's comment on IBN live's Rising India , 'In India nobody has sex, suddenly babies happen!' , has more to it than just a pun.

There is a sharp contrast between the perception of 'tabooed Sex' and reality. There is more to it than just explaining the presence of billion plus population with no talk on Sex. Economic liberalization has not changed the social conservatism. We are not comfortable with the issues of sex and sexuality. Politicians are equally adamant in perpetuating this system. Three southern states-Madya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharastra, successively banned the Sex education in schools. This happens in a country which has the second highest number of AIDS cases in the world. Consider Karnataka education minister Basavaraj Horatti's statement "In today's world, we need moral education and not sex education”. Politcians have a tendency to equate sex education with pornography (I suspect probably they have only seen the latter :) ) and impose their opinions and prejudices on people without having the faintest idea about their implication. Studies in US indicate that 'there is little or no correlation between sex-education and promiscuity'. Studies world wide (US, Europe and Africa) show that sex education and awareness at early stages of childhood are key factors in reducing AIDS and other STDs along with developing a healthy sexual attitude.

There is another stronger reason for making sex education part of the curriculum in elementary schools. A grim story was revealed recently in the first ever nationwide survey on child abuse. One out of every two children in India is abused physically, emotionally or sexually. Consider the following facts: 88% face physical abuse from parents, 53% face sexual abuse, every 2nd child reports emotional abuse. Boys are equally vulnerable to abuse as girls. 70% of children have never reported the abuse! (Based on CNN-IBN discussion on Why kids are not safe in India?).

Parents and society are equally to be blamed for this messy situation. Physical abuse is apparent in almost every family. Even in schools, about 60% of the teachers beat up their kids. Indian society has infused every parent to treat their 'children as their commodity' and exercise their full authority over them. Rarely ever we talk about 'rights of child'. Little do we realzie that in more than 80% of the cases parents are the emotional abusers. Renuka Choudry says "we have unwittingly victimized the kids in one way or the other".

What is rather worrisome is that in a society which "apparently" treats sex as 'sin', more than 50% of the kids face sexual abuse. Most often the abusers are the one of who are "trust"worthy to the family like relatives, cousins and friends. Children are afraid to talk about this with their parents out of shame and guilt. Parents are hesitant to openly about relationships, sex, good touch versus bad touch. Loveleen Kackar, the author of the report says "there is actually a conspiracy of silence among parents, policy makers and the civil society". " Its happening everywhere but we are just putting it under the carpet. We put ban on Sex education, we don't want our kids to talk about sex. " says child rights activist Gerry Pinto.

One question keeps haunting me, 'when will we come out of this self imposed cocoon of conservatism and face the reality?' When will our politicians ever realize the consequences of their prejudice? Why do they want to hold back to the past?

If we wish to stop more than 100 million children from the wrath of abuse, it is time for the civil society to take strong action.


Anonymous said...

I wonder no comments on this one till now...
Amazing writing sir....
Prejudice, hypocricy, cynicism...galore in society.
We need to educate and empower ourselves...till then sex will always be a taboo...and spoken in co-relation with pornography..
Keep writing sirji...

Rohit K said...

I was wondering about the same.... Please publish more of your work shivakumarji....Excellent perspective!!!

Rohit Kulkarni
Auburn AL