Sunday, April 08, 2007

Survival tools

HERE is a simple exercise that mothers can try with their daughters. Get your daughter to lie on her back on a big piece of paper and draw an outline of her body. Then ask her to fill in the space by marking out all her organs. Nine times out of 10, even a girl going to a "good" school will pause when it comes to the sexual organs. She will not know. Because she has never been taught properly where these are located and what they are.

Why does she need to know, people ask? Previous generations of women and men did not have such knowledge. So why does this generation need to be taught? The answer to that question is so obvious that it really does not need an answer. Today, girls have to be taught because they are more vulnerable than their mothers. They are encouraged to be out in the public space. They are made to believe that they can do anything with their lives. Yet they do not know enough about their bodies to understand how to protect themselves — from assault and disease. These are basic issues that boys and girls can be taught in a clear, clinical way in school. This is not pornography we are talking about. Sex should not be a dirty word. It is a "fact of life", one that everyone has a right to know and understand.

(Read the rest of the article in The Hindu, Sunday Magazine, April 8, 2007

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