Comprehensive Sexuality Education- Every Child's Right

Comprehensive Sexuality Education- Every Child's Right

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Harshit Agrawal started this petition to Ramesh Pokhriyal- Minsiter of Human Resource Development

sex is a taboo topic in India is no breaking news. It is evident by how we handle the subject from a young age or the time we first find out about it. But in the day and age of the Internet, social media, and unlimited access to information, how do we know for sure that children are getting the right information about everything, including sex and sexuality? Especially, in the absence of a detailed, comprehensive conversation at home and at school? https://www.thequint.com/neon/gender/india-needs-a-comprehensive-sex-education-plan

The term Comprehensive Sexuality Education or CSE   includes an understanding of gender roles and identities, information on sexual anatomy and physiology, on how sexuality is related to wellbeing, on how one’s sexuality interacts with family or community, how that makes one feel, talking about one’s choices in sexual partners, expressing one’s sexual identity, etc. Sexuality education provides young people the knowledge, skills, and values they require to be able to grow up happy and healthy. CSE also helps in the emotional, physical and psychological development of the students.

Sexuality is a much broader term, and encompasses much more than sex. Sexuality is an umbrella term, which, is defined by World Health Organization (WHO) as “A central aspect of being human that encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction… Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.”

Not giving sexuality education does not stop youngsters from knowing about sex, or exploring their own sexuality. They are exposed to sex from an early age through films, books, video games, music and the internet. And yet, a study found that 42-52% of youth feel that they do not have adequate knowledge about sex. Because these sources often provide romanticised, hyper-sexualised and inaccurate portrayals of bodies and relationships, leading to anxiety, shame and abuse among the youth. CSE steps in here by providing accurate information from a trustworthy source that they can rely on. https://feminisminindia.com/2017/08/29/sexuality-education-indian-culture/

In fact, the lack of comprehensive sexuality education means that youngsters rely entirely on the increasingly accessible pornography for information. This can create unrealistic expectations of sexual relationships or intercourse in real life, and can often lead to unsafe practices such as having sex without a condom, which further increases chances of pregnancy, STIs etc. Watching porn can raise questions about body image, sexuality and identity, which are left unanswered in a repressive culture. In addition to this, mainstream porn is mostly shot from the male gaze, and can lead to objectification and toxic.

Though the Central Government has made efforts to introduce some form of sexuality education within the curriculum, there have been conscious efforts to remove the words ‘sex’ and ‘sexual’ from the programs, and give them ‘wholesome’ names such as the Adolescence Education Program (2007) and National Adolescent Health Programme (2014). This again points to an erasure of issues surrounding sex and sexuality.

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