Tag Archives: social problem

Sex-Ed

20 Nov

My dear readers, you should be aware by now. Matters of all kinds find a way on my blog.

This post is a call for help. I know its long, but please read it completely and ponder over it, because your 2 cents on it may be very crucial.

This incident is about someone who I know very closely – ‘N’.

‘N’ is a volunteer teacher and mentor at an institution that has taken up the responsibility of teaching underprivileged children. She takes various classes for children aging from 5-15. A maximum of children that she teaches fall in the adolescent age group and are growing up. Also, since these kids do not have parental guidance and are responsibilities of shelter homes; they do not have people who are able to take care of them in the same way a parent could have.

Teachers are indulgent towards their kids in terms of affection. They let them hold hands, or sit close by in groups when stories are being read out. They also listen to the various incidents and stories that the kids narrate. These children are treated and called as their own, and the teachers have taken it upon themselves to provide them with brotherly/sisterly/parental love and guidance; to the best of their means.

There is a boy aged 11 – ‘S’, in N’s class. This little boy is very withdrawn. He does not mingle with the other kids. He tunes out during class when he wants to. He has lost his mother and his father is a beggar. Maybe, that is what inhibits him from making friends. I am sorry, I cannot elaborate more on the problems that he is facing, growing up. I am not good at child psychology. ‘N’ understands that better.

The teachers have been trying to draw this kid out of his shell bit by bit, by taking them in his confidence and giving him some extra attention. Unfortunately their attention and affection has not been reciprocated the way it should have been.

‘S’ has been charged twice by two different mentors for having sexual innuendos. On one incident he was blamed for rubbing his organ against one of the teachers. And on the second occasion, he drew N’s hand to his privates and wanted to be felt.

Both, N and the other teacher are disgusted with what happened. It was a violation of sorts. They did not know how to react to it, and just withdrew themselves from the boy’s vicinity without creating a scene. The matter was discussed with other teachers and mentors, and one of them (a male) decided to have a man-to-man conversation with ‘S’ to understand what is going on.

‘S’ confessed guilty of the complaints, which means that it wasn’t exactly a child’s innocent mistake altogether, but it was probably not something that ‘S’ understood as wrong either. He is hitting puberty and is probably just curious about things. These poor kids have no-one to give them any education about growing up, puberty, the right touch and the wrong touch, sex education etc.

The institute that ‘N’ is volunteering for has decided to give ‘S’ another chance by simply having told him that what he has done is wrong and should not repeat. I understand that they must consider the safety of their volunteer teachers as well, but ‘N’ and I agree that it would be really harsh on a child to snatch away his only chance of having an education, because the teachers do not know better ways to handle the situation and impart some very important education.

The problem is that most of us (inclusive of the volunteer teachers and mentors) weren’t taught anything of that sorts explicitly either.

There was no formal sex education in schools. There was no education at home. Parents do not discuss these things with their children, not even when they have grown up to be adults, and neither when they are on the verge of getting married. Sex is a first time experiment for many Indians on their wedding bed.

Most of the knowledge that people gain about sex is either through encyclopaedias borrowed from the library, or by paying attention to a specific chapter that has found its way in the standard 7th or 8th biology textbook or from the internet (all thanks to Google for that).

Ironically, we are citizens of country that is called the land of ‘Kamasutra’. A country where talking or discussing sex is distasteful. In fact, sex is considered a dirty word and a dirty act that serves to fulfil only the basest animal instincts. The word is such a taboo that people would rather use the word gender instead of sex (in the other meaning, of course).

Coming back to the problem statement, how do young adults who have only half-baked ideas and incomplete knowledge, and who themselves are victims of sex=dirty syndrome, impart sex education to a younger generation?

Imagine what COULD happen if ‘S’ gets thrown out of the program based on this?

Growing older without any more education of any sorts since nobody is volunteering to take his case up, once he gets written as troublemaker. Growing up and thinking that he scared away someone by what he did, feeling that what he did empowered him. Growing up to be an adult with a twisted mentality – not being able to differentiate right from wrong, feeling that violating a woman gives him power.

On the extreme, do you think we would be responsible for shaping a young (probably) innocent mind into a probable rapist?

The thought is horrifying, if true.

Can something be done about it?

Is there a way to handle this?

Is there anyone who can or knows someone who can facilitate learning of important things like sex for the children in Hyderabad, and is willing to help?

Are there books in form of stories for children which would help them the grasp idea and also make it easier for the volunteer teachers to provide indirect education?

P.S: Obviously this is a problem on a larger scale, and has not got much to do with this child being underprivileged. Sex education must be made mandatory in schools. There are very few schools that currently impart it. I have no clue how and what to do about this on a country level. I would be very glad if ‘N’ and others could just start somewhere with solving the problem they have on hand. Maybe that will pave way somewhere, somehow.

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