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Sex Education: India’s Last Hope to Eradicate Rape Culture

The Indian Education System is one of the most respected ones in the world, renowned for the tenacity, intelligence and determination required to succeed as a part of it. Despite these parameters that help students build a great work ethic amongst other things, the system has been under question. Thus we must question whether the system is doing its job at gauging the students that are subject to it.  This is a question which has invoked innumerable discussions over the last decade. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our Nation once said, “Education is of no value if it is unable to develop a sound character.” Given the unprecedented recent surge in rapes and murders of innocent women, we really must ask the question, is the education system truly educating our future? Is the system capable of building a sound future? Where do the priorities of our education system lie? And is the current state of society a reflection of the education system or vice-versa?

For education is more than a bunch of report cards, it is more than project after project. And it means nothing if our educated citizens have no humanity within them.

The recent surge in crimes against women has brought an eerie realisation to light; not only are we miles away from eradicating rape culture as a nation, but some of our “educated” citizens are still believers of the myth that the victims have a greater responsibility in the crime than the accused. This is the disappointing truth of the nation, and it has infected several minds.  Victims dead – killed, murdered, burned to char, and if they do survive, their lives destroyed. These victims are portrayed as things of misfortune, looked down upon. As citizens of this country, we cannot merely sit around quoting philosophies to solve this problem. Education should and must be the forefront of the eradication of this issue. In a nation who has around 48% of females, it is essential to ensure that they are safe, that all the rights that the constitution promises to the citizens of this country are equally theirs. No one should have to remind the perpetrators of the value of women. Before being a woman, she is a human and deserves every ounce of respect as the next. 

Like any problem, the focus of the solution must be eradicating the issue from the root, that is changing the mindset of people. Education is the only tool that can be used to eradicate rape culture from this country, the only hope of making India safe for women.

Of course, we must question and ponder on how education can solve one of the most challenging and dire problems our country is currently facing. The answer lies in a topic which has remained taboo for too many decades now- Sex Education.  As a nation, we have to stop viewing sex as anything other than what it really is- a natural process and a part of life. It is crucial that sex is seen for what it is without the association of religion and societal views. It is crucial to teach the future that sex is a choice and that consent has the upper hand, always. When we accomplish this, we’ll be able to help our children, our brothers and sisters. As naive or impossible as it sounds, the first step to making India safe for women is in helping girls and boys understand how their bodies work. It’s in understanding that sex education isn’t necessarily about the biological process itself, it’s about understanding how the body and mind evolve as we grow up and doing so in a healthy mind-space. It’s little steps like this that will slowly but surely end up completely incinerating the “It’s the victim’s fault” mentality.

For this process to work effectively, it needs to be given time. As Thomas Edison once said, “Education is a lifelong experience, it should not be rushed.” Economically, this would probably mean hiring and paying new teachers or paying the existing teachers a little more to take up an extra course. Given that this must happen at each school for maximum results, this does directly or indirectly imply a requirement to increase the funding of the education system. Before that, it demands a law to be passed, making sex education compulsory at the high school level, at least. It requires the effort and patience of the entire nation to enable this change. 

Nonetheless, it’s an essential one too. If implemented properly, this idea could be the first, simplest and perhaps even the largest step in eradicating one of the most toxic problems our country has ever faced. It might result in the equality we’ve been waiting, giving male victims the strength to talk about their cases, it may ensure that we stand united for the safety of everyone.  All this, achievable through the mere inclusion of one more course, in our world-renowned curriculum. What are we waiting for?

Smriti Singh

Manipal '22

A passionate writer since my childhood, I’m a true believer of the saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Among many other things, I’m a technology enthusiast. I’m fascinated by artificial Intelligence and all things ML. I’m also a proud feminist, a budding coder and confident leader.
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