• Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:54 pm

Sex education the only way to tackle rape?

  • Published at 10:02 pm January 10th, 2021
Rape_Photo-Story
Friends and guardians of rape victim, the O-level examinee, organize candle light vigil mourning the victim at Dhanmondi 27 of Dhaka on Saturday, January 9, 2021 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Experts suggest prioritizing moral education to change the patriarchal mindset

“Sex education is a taboo in our school. The teachers feel awkward.” This statement was made recently by a friend of the rape victim, an O-level student.

Sex education is not entirely absent in the country’s curriculum but teachers mostly avoid teaching sexual and reproductive health chapters, according to several studies.

Hence, it does not bear any fruit as students are not remotely made aware of the issue.

While sex education may be a key component for battling the rape culture it’s not enough to change the society. Several other initiatives are needed to end the crisis, says an expert.

On the other hand, rights activists say government should include sex education in details in textbooks, as well as, train teachers about sexual and reproductive health to prevent rape in Bangladesh.

They also suggested prioritizing moral education to change the patriarchal mindset.

Salma Ali, president of Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association said indoctrinating girls at an young age with the concept of “femininity” (how women should act/behave) is one of the main barriers in preventing rape.

The idea of ‘purity of a girl’ lying in her virginity is a flawed concept as boys do not face the same challenge, she added.


Also Read - Police: Evidence will determine facts of O-level student rape case


Students, teachers, and friends of the girl who died after being raped demanded institutional changes to ensure that respect for women are taught in schools.

"Sex education is a taboo in our school. The teachers feel awkward," said Neha Zaman, a friend of the victim who protested on Dhanmondi-27 on Saturday.

Sex education is one of the most important subjects but children are not educated in the matter as many rural teachers mostly avoid teaching about reproductive health, said Khushi Kabir, secretary of the governing body of Nijera Kori.

“The government should take the responsibility of changing the education system,” she added.

“However, only sex education is not enough to change the society. We should take many initiatives to prevent rape like forming community groups in rural level to create awareness among people at the grassroots,” she added.

A study conducted by Khaleda Khatoon, an advocate and freelance researcher, said: “The fact is that sex education has never been addressed to support the adolescents to develop healthy, biologically sound and socially equitable and culturally non- violent attitude towards their own and peer's sexual maturation, sexuality and sexual relationship.”

Khushi Kabir said: “Textbooks should be redesigned and training of teachers is a must to get the real output of sex education.”


Also Read - Dihan’s family ashamed, not defending him in court


Right activists have been demanding to include sexual and reproductive health properly in the national curriculum for years on end.

On November 11, 2020 a webinar, titled – “Importance of incorporation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) education in the National Curriculum for the prevention of sexual violence,” was organized by Bangladesh Nari Pragati Sangha (BNPS).

Rokeya Kabir, executive director of BNPS, highlighted an issue at the webinar. She said that a gender-sensitive education system and scientific analysis of Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) from an early age can work as a tool to prevent sexual violence.

At the same event Prof Md Moshiuzzaman, member of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), said: “We are working on how effectively we can incorporate the CSE issues in our national curriculum revision, and how we can ensure proper output through collective effort.”

But unfortunately the government is yet to include the comprehensive sex education till now.

Khushi Kabir said: “The process of including comprehensive sex education in textbooks is moving at snail’s pace.”

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