A basic human need, a universal reality, an issue we daily encounter, everyone does it but nobody talks about it. Yes, we are talking about sex and sex education. Sex discussion is a taboo among many others in Pakistan. If you talk about sex education, You are either crazy, secular or some foreign-funded NGO working to spread vulgarity in Pakistan. It is a controversial and sensitive issue. There are two points of view about it. Some believe, this matter should be treated at the close family level and never be publicly discussed. Others believe that it is a severe issue that should be treated at a broad level through the formal education system. Also, read transgender rights in Pakistan.
I believe it should be also treated at formal level because it is a proper field. Parents do not have enough training how to deal in a specific situation. Child brain picks every impression and a wrong impression may cause him trouble in many coming years. Especially in less developed countries like Pakistan, even parents do not know how to deal complex issues like child abuse. Formal education is delivered under specific curriculum which is developed under expert supervision.
What is sex education, why it is a taboo and why there is a need to discuss sexuality
According to the definition
“Sex education is the instruction of issues relating to human sexuality, including emotional relations and responsibilities, human sexual anatomy, sexual activity, sexual reproduction, age of consent, reproductive health, reproductive rights, safe sex, birth control, and sexual abstinence”.
It means sex education deals with sex issues like changes in physical appearance during adolescence, emerging emotions during puberty, sexual and non-sexual relationship including good and bad touch, use of condom for birth control and to protect yourself from sexually remitted diseases.
It looks all fine as far as definition is concerned. So, where is the issue in implementation? As Pakistani and more as Muslim, we are very much concerned about our values. We are always afraid of new concepts and thoughts, especially it is coming from the western world. To some extent, we are right in our approach. Every nation should be nationalist and conservative in its core values and customs. But the question is if we are really so concerned about our values keeping in mind Valentine, New Year, Basant, Halloween, and many other events. Similar questions arise in our dressing, language, and foods. So, I don’t think it’s the question of values. Most notable objection on sex education is that it will cause more encouragement for sex instead of awareness and education. So to answer this objection, I want to present some eye-opening facts
- 93% Pakistan women face sexual abuse during their lifetime
- One woman rape case in every 2 hours in Pakistan
- A Pakistani teacher sexually abused 20 students in 6 years
- 17862 child abuse cases in last 5 years
- On Average, 12 children are sexually abused daily
- 141 cases of children rape in 7 months only in Lahore (male & female)
When we examine these figures in detail, it is even more interesting that Punjab with highest education rate is at the top in sexual abuse cases.
Out of total reported cases
Sindh at 25%
3% cases from Islamabad
K-P with 3% Cases
2% from Balochistan
and 2% in GB
Here, it is a serious question to be asked about the modern education system as the most literate province is reported with the highest sexual abuse cases. Or, it may be credited to increased awareness, education, the effectiveness of law or less cultural pressure to speak about sex abuse in Punjab.
Other important categorizations are based on gender and age group. There is no significant difference between girls and boys abuse cases with 56:44 ratio. And, mostly abused child belong to age group between 6 to 15.
These are abuse and rape cases where education is needed to give victims the confidence to speak and report. These are just some glimpse of the full movie. But, another figure is eye-opening for people who object sex education.
25 million abortions were conducted in Pakistan in 2012
So, my dear fellow citizens, child abuse and sexuality cases are already there and figures are high. There are no official figures for premarital sex or sex in youth at college and university level but no one can deny reality. Our youth is already deeply involved in sexual activities. Problem will not be resolved by closing eyes but addressing issue. Also read Current Issues of Pakistan
What happens in abuse and rape cases?
An abused child is broken at two ends, physically and mentally. I believe real pain is mental, emotional and psychological as physical pain will be recovered with time. Abused child encounter mixed wave of feeling and thoughts of mistrust, fear, being worthless, damaged and shock. He is unable to calculate actually what happened. He needs emotional support at that time but do not know how and to whom he can share these feelings. They do not really know how people will react. In Pakistan, it is general trend that we perceive victims as guilty without any thought especially if it is a female.
Menstruation, Erection, Ejaculation, Pornography and masturbation are part of adolescence
During adolescence, human body is greatly transformed and it is definitely frightening for many. Female muscles grow and their bodies become curvy. They are introduced to menstruation cycle. In Pakistani society, mother plays role of teacher in this case. On other hand, there is no support for boys, not even father. I have personally went through these and only knowledge I gained was from friends and books available at footpath. I was really afraid and ashamed when I encountered erection and ejaculation at that age. In addition, pornography and masturbation are essential part of that age.
Surprisingly, Sex Education is already there BUT…
This time of age is so critical that child need proper guidance. When it is not available formally, it is searched through social circle and now from google. But, There is no guarantee what they will find and how they will perceive it. In Pakistan, we are witness of local Hakeems (non-educated, self-acclaimed health professionals) treating “Posheeda Amraz” and people are becoming patient of life threatening diseases.
Sex education for premarital relations, birth and disease control
We already discussed that 2.5 million women aborted in a year. Although, as a Muslim society we are not allowed premarital sexual relations but see, these are already there. So, if we are unable to control sexuality, we should at least control its negative effects. It is even worst when people are afraid to treat themselves as they are uncomfortable to expose their sexual relations. Even HIV patients go untreated and prefer death. Proper sexual education will help in encouraging use of condoms. This will result in birth and sexually transmitted disease control.
Sex Education for marriage and after marriage
There are so many assumptions and misconceptions about married life. These misconceptions are destroying uncounted relations. Domestic violence and divorce are mostly resulted due to these misunderstandings. Then, there are many so-called fertility issues that even remain untreated or treated by non-professional people. It is really surprising that people search google about these question
How to kiss?
How to do sex?
How to be pregnant?
How to use condom?
Who is responsible in case of any marriage complications here. These are really simple but ignored things that should be addressed at government, society, family and individual level. I just want to concise this post with following points.
Why we need sex education? Because
- It is our right to know
- Need for better health issues i.e avoid aids
- A better understanding of different stages of puberty
- Educate child about good and bad touch
- Birth rate control
- Discourage local hakeems i.e. fertility pills
- Safeguard our youth from negative and manipulating people
- Educate people to make their married life happy and satisfied i.e. how to do sex, how condoms work
- Better domestic handling of pregnancy and after birth issues
- Give confidence to speak up in case of rape and abuse
- Making premarital and extramarital relations safe
So, it is time for us all to think on this issue. It is time to save our child and youth from these sexual assaults, complexions, and abuses. I would really appreciate if you people will join hands with me in spreading this message. Just click on social signs on the left side for share. Please also share your thoughts with me in below comments.