Ignorance is bliss, as they say, and to an extent, it certainly is. But there comes a point where silence and turning heads from reality won’t do anymore. Closed eyes only leave you in the dark, not stop what is dark. And among things perceived as dark and still regretfully a taboo in our society, is sexual education.
Whether its a condom commercial on television or someone ‘besharam’ openly addressing the topic in-front of an audience, the only response is disapproving frowns and tongue clicks, ‘Astaghfirullah!’ And that is the irony of the whole situation, the concept of sex education is the biggest taboo, it is not to be addressed and yet when someone experiences the misfortune of harassment and abuse, it is indeed, the victim’s fault.
Why? Because they should’ve known better.
Sex education does not consist of telling a woman she’s supposed to submit to her spouse whenever he desires, nor is it telling a man he’s allowed to approach his future wife in any way he pleases, disregarding any room for potential respect for her and her needs or ease. It is far more than just, that. But then the people educating others in this context can’t really be blamed either, no one had ever taken the responsibility to truly educate them either, and the list goes on.
We consider telling our children about the concept of sex, the concept of a healthy relationship such a huge disgrace that it is completely ignored till they either find out for themselves the wrong way, or not at all. Wouldn’t you want your child to know the right thing, from the right person, in the right way? But then the problem of ‘sharam’ and ‘haya’ arises.
But how many more innocents are we willing to sacrifice in the name of this made up sharam?
Indeed, the incident of Zainab and so many others is still fresh in every Pakistani’s mind, and we continue to play along with this facade, and yet we still do not feel the need to look for the problem. The problem isn’t the man who abused her, its the act he committed. There’s a very famous saying, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” And nothing could represent this better.
Eliminating the man won’t eliminate the problem, but education will.
Education is what will protect the little girl walking home through the crowded bazaar after school, it will allow her to distinguish between the right and wrong looks, touches, will teach her to say no, to stand up for herself. It is what will make the little boy understand that he can’t force himself on another just because he wants to, teach him how to behave around and treat his peers, to be responsible for his actions. It will educate the ignorant minds of the nation that wrong will always be wrong, regardless of the doer. It will educate people how to practice safe sex, it will teach them how to care for themselves and their sexual partners.
All of these reasons, and more, combined are the reason so many such gruesome cases come to light every other day, and there are so many others that don’t even get to. This is a reality that needs to be addressed, and it is indeed a step forward that a lot of public figures have started addressing it openly, but it can’t be stopped at just this. Children and young minds are to be educated, it is their right to know. It is not a matter of ‘If I tell him he’ll want to try it wrongly’, its more the matter of, ‘Tell him so even if he chooses to try it, he wont be doing anyone wrong.’