Rapes, eve-teasing and sexual harassment against women have become a casual talk in our country with their alarming increasing rates. Reports suggest that more than 11 percent of reported crimes against women are rape cases, which are committed irrespective of age, religion, dressing sense and culture.
These high crime rates against women raise many concerns about our male-dominated society and seek a solution. But in a country where talking about such cases is itself a taboo, what else could be done to decrease such barbaric activities?
Before we teach men about the meaning of consent, we must understand the role of sex education as a medium for change in the mentality of the majority.
In India where teens going through puberty learns the change in their body through themselves or their peers hold a high chance of misdirected masculinity. With the inclusion of sex education in our schools, such young minds can be developed with a better definition of masculinity and femininity, which are often confused with superiority and inferiority, respectively, by most of the teens who are deprived of such teachings.
Sex education itself is often confused with lessons about sexual intercourse. Instead, sex education is not only about the actual sex but the changes teens go through puberty, male-female reproductive health, risks of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy during sexual intercourse. It also feeds their curiosity about the opposite sex which later turns into sexual crimes.
Young men and women should also be addressed about the importance of consent, recognizing sexual abuse or exploitation, gender equality and respecting each other’s personal space. Highlighting success stories of women and their changing roles in society will also help to fight against their oppression.
Taking one step at a time, parents should also break the taboo by taking part in the process to teach their offspring about equality in gender and to provide a safe environment for their children.
With the inclusion of sex education as a whole in schools’ curriculum, crime rates against women must decrease to minimal over the next few decades. Making sex education mandatory in schools is the most convenient way to face this global issue and one must take a stand to support the cause.