When we read the news every day, we inevitably come across familiar topics like politics and stocks. However, one disconcerting trend that is gaining traction is the daily occurrence of rape cases in our country. Almost every day, we encounter at least one story about a person, typically a girl, being raped in India.
When discussing rape, we are referring to an act that forcefully compels someone to engage in sexual activity against their will, often employing violence or threatening behavior. We frequently hear about rape incidents involving students, relatives, daughters, and sisters. In each situation, society is always quick to engage in a blame game, pointing fingers and attempting to list the reasons behind these occurrences.
But what precisely underlies the staggering number of sexual assaults? Is it the provocation of the victims, or perhaps the misguided belief that the victims somehow invited it? Those who commit rape are not rational individuals. They are often labeled as sex fiends or sexually frustrated individuals who channel their inclinations through heinous crimes. Maybe they are addicted to sex. Nevertheless, they are unequivocally aware that what they are doing is wrong; this is a point on which we can all agree. Yet, can we label a child who commits rape as a criminal? While they are indeed children, and their understanding of right and wrong might be limited, their engagement in such gruesome acts raises questions about responsibility. Who is to blame?
In my opinion, much of the blame lies with the absence of sex education in the Indian education system. For a country like India, which has the highest population, it is quite ironic how we as a collective society consider discussing ‘sex’ as a taboo. Children are naturally curious, and it is the duty of parents, educators, and society to educate them and address their questions without hesitation. If we fail to do so, they will seek answers in their own ways, and the outcome might not always be positive.
Teaching and discussing the importance of sex education and the bodily changes that occur as one grows is not inappropriate. If boys are not taught that girls experience periods at a certain age and that it’s entirely normal, we will witness cases like the one where a brother mistakenly interpreted his sister’s period stains as something else, leading to tragic consequences. If girls and boys are segregated and discouraged from interacting in co-ed schools, we might observe instances of catcalling and sexual exploitation. These boys grow up without knowing how to coexist and communicate with the opposite gender.
In many schools, sex education is completely omitted from the syllabus, while in some, it is taught separately to girls and boys. Girls are taken into separate classrooms and taught about periods while being instructed to keep it hush-hush.
Even in Indian households, when the lady of the house experiences her monthly menstruation and her son or any other male child inquires about it, they are either shut down or completely diverted from the topic.
Why is something so natural considered foreign in this country? In our culture, marriage often becomes a license for engaging in sexual activity. In the rush to marry, many boys marry at a very young age, but due to a lack of sex education, they remain oblivious about what they are supposed to do. This can result in cases of marital rape and domestic violence.
While Indians are progressing in fields like science and the economy, the question remains: If we, as a country, do not dismantle this taboo and begin discussing sex and other cultural issues openly, can we truly become a developed nation?
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