Can Mandatory Sex Education Ensure Child Safety?


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2015: The Sustainable & Social Impact Investing Conference:

Most fairy tales end with a kiss and a ‘happily ever after’. Stories of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Krishna Leela are narrated as bed-time stories to kids. We let kids watch inappropriate movies but hesitate to spend a minute to explain rights and wrongs.

Every day we find newspapers and television covered with news of a two-year-old or a four-year-old falling victim to the wicked fox. Most of the culprits turn out to be a known person to the child’s family. When this is the case, don’t you think it could have been avoided?

A child’s first teachers are her parents. In the present scenario, it becomes important for them to teach their child about the right touch and the wrong touch. They must teach the child to shout if the child feels a stranger’s touch is uncomfortable, hurting and scary. Parents will have to spend time with their child and tell their child that anything that happens when they are not around must be brought to their notice. They must build trust with their child and convince them that nothing needs to be hidden from them.

Children forever remember what is taught to them at an early age. When we teach them everything that we expect them to remember and follow for the rest of their lives, must not the basics of protecting themselves from sexual abuse be initiated at the same time?

Seeing parents fight, dad beating mom telling her to limit herself within the walls of the kitchen, the children will treat those who come into their lives later in the same way. Respecting a woman and treating her equal to men also comes under this larger topic of sex education. If a child learns this, he or she won’t commit crime later.

It is pleasing to see the media spreading awareness about this. “Young World”, a magazine brought out by The Hindu newspaper for children, publishes articles about the safety of a child. The front page of the magazine once in a while carries articles calling out to parents, showing them the various means of addressing this topic. Our good old Doordarshan has also taken a brave step to showcase the issue as a short documentary or advertisements.

Home is the first school for a child. Therefore like every other fact, a child must learn about sex (baby steps for their own safety) at an early age. If this is not done the child will learn it later from a wrong or a corrupt source. We don’t want the coming generation to live with scars and fears; we want every child to be a princess or a prince and not a victim of assault, so let’s take the initiative to help keep them safe.

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