If we wish to eradicate rape and other sex crimes
It is really heart wrenching to know that in the first six months of 2019, there have been a total of 496 child rapes. The number was 351 during the same period last year. According to a newspaper report: “There has been a 41% increase of child and minor rape in Jan-June 2019 in comparison with Jan-June 2018.”
Rape cannot be normalized, as it is one of the most heinous acts a human being can carry out against another human being.
Of course, in Bangladesh, a conservative country, discussion about sex is publicly not welcome even in the academic domain.
In Surah Nur (24:30), Allah instructs men to lower their gaze when any irrational thought comes to their mind. However, sex education is a more in-depth matter which cannot be just understood by reading verses of the Qur’an.
In a journal of European Childhood Education Research based on teachers’ perception on sex education on five to eight-year-old students of government primary schools and private English-medium schools, three Bangladeshi researchers have found that a part of sex education is written in a pre-primary school curriculum, but that not much emphasis is given on it.
The lack of concentration is a major cause behind sex education not being discussed for the greater good, contributing to increasingly shameful rape statistics in Bangladesh.
Moreover, the uneasiness associated with sex education has to change in the “pre-operational” stage of development. Sex education includes that children know that they have to safeguard themselves from inappropriate contact at an early stage.
Among the 496 reported rapes, 53 were gang raped, 27 were rapes of differently-abled minors, and 23 children were murdered after they were raped. The perpetrators are looking for disabled children as they cannot physically resist or voice out their suffering.
Students have to attend workshops after sex education to ensure whether they understood or not. In the Global Education Monitoring Report June 2019, it is stated that women should receive comprehensive sex education before becoming sexually active. The report also discusses the harsh yet real consequences of not receiving sex education, such as unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
An adolescent participant of a workshop organized by Plan International and Marie Stopes Bangladesh recently said: “The absence of sexual education in our society drives adolescents to desperation.”
When Bangladeshi academics, parents, teachers, students, NGOs, and politicians have the genuine will to provide sex education to the masses, only then will we see tangible progress in the fight against sex crimes and abuse.
The rate of sexual abuse would decline day by day with the increasing of knowledge. However, the laws shall remain to punish people who sexually harass women even after comprehensively knowing/learning about sex education.
Our lacklustre policies, resource limitations, and societal attitudes towards sex education need to be addressed. Only then will we be able to eradicate sex crimes from Bangladesh.
Muhammed Rubayet is a journalist.