While there are cons to social media’s influencer culture, it also has perks. Many professionals in healthcare like Dr Tanaya or popularly known as Dr Cuterus and others speak about essential things like sex education. However, it also exposes content creators to unwarranted hate.
Yesterday, I came across a popular psychologist’s Instagram story in which they’d shared a screenshot of a user’s comment below their post. The user criticised them for talking about sex education for kids and dismissed her opinion saying she can’t comment since she did not have kids yet. It did not stop there. The user dubbed the psychologist immoral and vulgar to put up sexual content on Instagram as it might corrupt the minds of young users.
The comment was made below a post by the psychologist discussing the importance of sex education, consent and good & bad touch for children from parents so they can notify if they are harassed.
Was the psychologist wrong for talking about the importance of sex-ed for kids? Or was the user right about keeping kids in the bubble of morality that stigmatises sex or sexual organs? It is immoral to provide sex education to kids but not to make them silently bear sexual harassment?
Sex-education of children
It is a known fact that sexual harassment has ruined the lives of many kids in India. 109 children were sexually abused every day in India in 2018 according to a National Crime Records Bureau report. There has been a jump of 22% in the reported cases of child sexual harassment in India over a year. But these are the cases in which the harassment is recognised and spoken against. There are many other houses in which kids are unable to speak about their harassment.
The major reason behind this is the taboo around sex and sexual organs in our society. Parents are reluctant to tell their kids about their private parts, sexual consent and issues like sexual harassment. Indian parents don’t even address their kids’ private parts, they use nicknames and teach the kids the same. They [parents] assume that children will learn everything when they grow up.
However, dear parents, what happens when they learn about their sex organs and sex through traumatic experiences? Will you justify it? Don’t they have the right to know about their body functions without undergoing any type of discomfort? Does this not mean that we are normalising the fact that sexual harassment is better silenced and not taken seriously?
Children should be imparted knowledge about sex and consent and there are ways to do so in an age-appropriate manner. Not being aware of good touch and bad touch makes them more susceptible to not speaking about sexual abuse because they themselves don’t realise it.
If they are aware, they’d be able to recognise and also share incidents of sexual abuse with parents without hesitation. Child sexual abuse can constitute either someone forcing them to watch pornography, talking to or touching them inappropriately or making child pornography.
So dear society, please understand that it is more important to save kids from violence and life-long traumas than to preserve your narrow-minded ideas of morality. Keeping kids away from sex education might prove to be a backward step in the path of their physical and mental growth. You might end up raising another generation that normalises sexual harassment, traumas and taboos in life. How long will we move in this vicious circle?
The views expressed are the author’s own.