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Empowering Youth Means Freeing Sex Ed Information

Written By: Audacia Ray
August 21, 2009

 

The YP Foundation, based in Delhi, India, is an ever-growing organization that, through many projects, works on the issues including Gender, Identity, Sexuality, HIV/AIDS, Substance Abuse and Life Skills. Ishita Chaudhry, who is the founder of IWHC partner the YP Foundation in Delhi, India, has a long blog post up in which she struggles with the question: Why is sexuality so problematic?

Here’s and excerpt (but seriously, it’s worth a click-through to read the whole thing):

Now, more than ever, governments as well as central education systems and institutions need to endorse to 225 million young people in the age group of 10-19 years i.e., 22 % of the total population that Sexuality Education is about young people’s right to know. The arguments based on cohesive Sexuality Education being against our cultural and moral values are invalid and do not justify denying young people the information and skills they need and are entitled to.

As young people, we have learnt that comprehensive sexuality education does not ‘corrupt young minds’ or as WHO studies have shown, does not lead to an increase in early sexual activity but that a lack of information leads young people to access false, incomplete and harmful facts and puts them in high risk situations.

Why are young people considered to have a high rate of self harm? The perception that adolescents confront problems because of ‘their inability to properly manage the sudden development of their interest in the opposite sex’, stems from a position in society where adolescents are brought up by adults to believe that sexuality is a silent space and that it is not to be talked about, accepted or respected. Given the right information and skills and trusted, young people can negotiate high-risk situations more effectively and reduce their vulnerability to violence, HIV and substance abuse.

In a country where 11 million abortions take place annually and around 20,000 women die due to abortion related complications, where 1 and 10 percent of abortion-seekers in India are adolescents, where there is a huge unmet need for contraception and where Child Marriages are still rampant, the need to empower young women and girls is critical.

To not do that, because we are tentative, unsure and scared of what others may say and think, is inexcusable.

Also worth a read: the text of Ishita’s remarks made for a United States Congressional Briefing, Global Youth: A Strategic Investment on March 3, 2009. Download as a PDF here, or read it as a series of blog posts.

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