In the pseudo-religious culture of Pakistan, talking or writing about sex academically is a taboo subject but sex-related crimes and scandals are the most sought-after news. Unfortunately, police and secret agencies also use sex as a tool of torture and warfare. Staging an honor-killing has become very popular in our sadistic society. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif recently told a TV channel hat the premier spy agency of the country, the ISI, was involved in the Umer Cheema case – a journalist who was kidnapped and, according to sources, sexually abused on camera for writing about the military. What is wrong with our society? Muhammad Moiz, a medical student, expresses his personal views about the basics of the issue.–The Terrorland
A brief visit to Google Trends exposes the sardonic truth that has long been shunned and denied by our “Islamic” society. Voila! The word “sexy” is most searched in the “Islamic” Republic of Pakistan. But do not be ashamed. Our spiritually beloved Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and the extremely wannabe-liberal India are also in the top-five.
So what does this mocking fact teach us? That morality and religious piety have failed to cordon and stop the apparently magnanimous lustful appetite of our population. And at a time when we, calling ourselves the citadels of Islamic values and ethos, shirk and seethe at the merest mentions of anything related to the very natural process of sex; the progressive and forward-looking minds of the world (including Iran) are busy devising new policies and methodologies of imparting an education to the masses, that seems like a cry in the wilderness for our country, that is sex-education.
THE NEED: When renowned sexologist Wilhelm Reich said: “All worries and troubles arise from unsatisfied sexual impulses,” he was undeniably correct. Why does a 7th grade student quickly jump to the reproduction chapter soon after buying his first science book? (Only to be left dejected and confused for we only teach the frog’s version).
Children below 11 and 12 years of age seldom show interest in any “dirty” activity. At the onset of puberty, where the body undergoes very obvious and discomforting physical changes, the mind also takes a sexual turn. That’s not perversion or religious transgression. Its normal hormonal biochemistry! However, unfortunately enough, for all those queries arising in a naive mind there is no suitable person to elucidate except for that part-and-parcel-of-our-culture xyz bhai in the street who has quite a reputation for being sleazy.
About 99 percent of our youth has seen, and is seeing, porn. The reason in the beginning is always curiosity. Then why not give a proper channel to these very normal and natural feelings? Why leave our highly talented and energetic youth at the mercy of pornography, pedophiles and sordid rogues? If, keeping mum when a child asks his parents what happens after marriage or hurriedly changing the Greenstar commercials, is called modesty; then what is having one of the highest porn viewership rates in the world called? Qiyamat ki nishaani?
THE MYTH: First myth – England is a very “modern” country; modern implying female soldiers and a highly liberal social setup among others. The reality: Neither does the British government allow women to take part in direct-combat roles in the military, nor do they allow topics like sex to be discussed openly. The result: Britain has the highest unlawful teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.
Second myth – Telling children about sex corrupts their minds and makes them more prone to getting trapped into social-evils. The reality:
A) we are not “telling” them about sex; a seventh grade student won’t understand much about the anatomy of the human genitalia and the complicated hormonal activity involved anyways, neither does sex-education mean engaging a student in sleazy talk. Education is always age-appropriate and details are only revealed according to the mental development of the student.
B) When a nation is consciously and proudly labeled conservative, considering sexual talk, feelings and behavior illegal and immoral, and simultaneously it exposes itself to an extremely obsessed with lust-and-love media with a shameless neglect, and the results are reaped in the form of colossal proportions of child abuse, illegal abortions, domestic violence, homosexuality, pornography and sexually transmitted diseases; does the proud and priestly talk of minds being corrupted remain even valid?
Education is a power; it’s a means of familiarizing the minds and equipping them with the muscle to make the right decision. We have lost too many a people to wars and terrorism; we don’t want to lose more to the ravaging jaws of the present day media and the ever corrupt society.
The third, and the funniest, myth – Pakistan is an Islamic country hence sex-education is prohibited. Firstly, Islam doesn’t ban sex-education; many Ahadith and Quranic verses are related to sex themselves. Secondly, Pakistan is an Islamic country? What a joke! Only one fact of 80 percent homes having domestic violence is proof enough to refute this argument! If the Muslim society of our country has no issue with women being burnt to death for that extra spoon of salt that they put in the food then they should at least have the shame not to drag our religion into education.
THE REACH: The government of Iran has made it mandatory for all to-be-married couples to undergo a pre-marital sex-education course. Counseling on matrimonial issues like reproductive health and satisfaction is given under this education. All social evils related to marriage like extra-marital affairs, divorces and unhappy marital lives can be successfully tackled through this means. Consider what benefits our society will obtain if marital problems are dealt with before they even start to appear.
Japan has made sex-education compulsory for all children aged 10-11. Consequentially never will one find Japan’s name in Google trends porn directory. Let’s face the reality. Neither does Pakistan have co-education system nor will you see women in bikinis parading in our streets. Despite all the social inhibitions, pre-marital sex is rampant and automatically so are illegal abortions. Without finding a doctor who is willing to abort the child, many young girls fall victim to greedy midwives or choose to abort the baby themselves by injecting poisons in their bellies or pushing probes into their uteri. Most of them end up dead. Those who shockingly survive have their future lives destroyed once their husbands find out the secret on the nuptial night. And then comes the bitter old saga of a modern old slavery replete with violence. All because of our incapacity and myopic vision to consider and educate our youth about a process we all desire behind closed doors.
Our country is third-world. People die daily of tuberculosis, malaria and countless other simple diseases. Moreover, evils like homosexuality and unlawful sex are on the rise ever since our media opened its doors to inspirations from Hollywood and Bollywood and their undying obsession with sex. STDs are high-risk diseases. Syphilis and gonorrhea, the commonest of STDs in Pakistan, start invading the nervous system if not treated within a week. Are we, a nation with hospitals already understaffed and overloaded with patients in critical conditions, ready to sustain a subsequent rise in patients suffering from sexually transmitted diseases?
THE BACKLASH: A widespread frenzy came into play once media reported a certain school in Karachi apparently carrying out sex-education. The reality was that students of class 8th were being taught reproduction in a Biology lesson from a Cambridge book. The secretary for education Sind had to visit the institute and made the principal seek an apology from the parents and the authorities. The secretary could boldly be heard on television stating it to the principal “This is not US, this is not UK, this is Pakistan!”
If this is the reaction of educated individuals, the response from the clergy clan isn’t hard to imagine. Moreover, children walking back from schools with books titled “Reproductive health: Grade 7” and “Essentials of Sexology” won’t be a very pleasant sight for the parents as well. The most important court of law, that is the society, will term it highly immoral and disrespectful; something of the magnitude that is able to quake the very roots of this pseudo-religious culture.
So what is the realistic practicality of sex-education in Pakistan? Should it be considered a dream too far-fetched to be turned into reality? Should it be implemented with full force completely ignoring the wails and sirens emanating from the ignorant mouths of our country men and women? Or should it be imparted but subtly, without being included in the text and curricula, but surely taught age-appropriately in the class? Whatever the answer to these questions may be, the fact remains the same as Will Durant said “No great civilization is conquered unless it has been eaten away from the inside”.