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EDUCATION : Let’s Talk about Sex !

HARSHITAA NUNKOO

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464 cases of sexual violence have been reported in Mauritius in 2018, according to the Statistics Mauritius! On average, 9 cases each week!
Welcome to Mauritius, Paradise Island!
The Me Too movement has proved that sexual violence is a global phenomenon and somehow, the Gen Z is yet ignorant of this scourge.
Sexual violence refers to any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual favour by violence or coercion, trafficking people to sexual ends or acts directed against a person’s sexuality.
But according to a regular teenager, probably the only answer would be « rape ».
So, what about sexual assault, intimate partner sexual violence, drug-facilitated sexual assault, unwanted sexual touching and the leaking of nudes (non-consensual porn)? Yes! All of these do form part of sexual violence and indirectly our culture. If in a society, sexual violence is normalized and justified despite rape being a perversion, then it’s definitely a rape culture. But what are the actual causes of this phenomenon?
1.Sexual Objectification of women ;
2.Influence of porn ;
3.Lack of moral and sex education

Sexual objectification of women
and the influence of porn

Porn plays a colossal part in shaping the way males view females, because after all, sexual objectification is the recipe of porn!
For most teenage boys and even grown-up men, porn dominates their Google history, unless they use the incognito mode, of course.
However, if we analyse the most popular and best-selling pornographic videos, we are going to notice that they involve more violence and disrespect towards females than actual sex!
Hitting, choking, violence or portraying women’s bodies in a disgusting angle are the ingredients that make porn earn millions.
“Sexual harassment isn’t driven by a desire for women. It’s motivated by a desire for power over women” – Adam Grant (American activist).
According to the UNICEF, this type of sexist culture that is promoted by pornography portrays abusive and misogynistic acts that can lead to the normalisation of this culture.
Eventually, males would view women through the lenses of porn which further leads to the disrespect, and degradation of women.
That being said, learning sex by watching porn is like learning how to drive by watching “Fast and Furious”. A terrible idea!

Lack of moral and sexual education

Now, a lot of guys are going to argue that porn hasn’t corrupted their naive minds and that “all men are not the same” or “it’s not all men”. But have you ever passed a disrespectful comment on a girl’s body? Be it the size of her breasts or her buttocks?
Have you ever viciously scanned a girl from head to toe? Have you ever used misogynistic language? Have you ever shared a girl’s intimate picture to others? « Tiewww, get sa ti lartik-la… », have you ever said anything similar to that? Well, if you have, this is what sexual objectification is about. This is sexual harassment. And shockingly, most guys think it’s normal to do so! It’s funny, right? But it’s not!
If you reflect on whatever I just said, you would either realise that you have already been subjected to sexual violence or that you were a protagonist!
In Mauritius, last year itself, in March 2021, a deplorable and disgusting scandal took place on Telegram, where nudes of young girls and women were being publicly shared among some husbands, fathers, sons and brothers. This year, barely 2 weeks into 2022, and another similar scandal has come to light which has pushed a young victim of 14 years old to commit suicide.
These recent outrages disgracefully reflect how the sexual objectification and the disrespect of women are deep rooted into our mauritian society because otherwise, the sharing of women’s intimate pictures wouldn’t have ever taken place.
The sexual objectification of women cannot be dismissed as a joke each time because this normalizes them as just minor crimes and develops a social tolerance for them.

A dysfunctional society

468 cases of sexual violence in a small country like ours! Is that a joke?
But society has indeed taken it as one by only blaming, shaming and stigmatizing women instead of calling out the assaulters and holding them accountable for “What was she wearing?”, “Was she drinking?”, “Where was she?”, « why did she even share her intimate pictures? », « why did she trust him? »
In Ireland, to defend a rapist, a lawyer presented the laced underwear of a 17-year-old victim as proof that “she was asking for it”. In 2018, an 8-month-old baby was raped by her father in India. Was she wearing sexy and black laced diapers?

Rape already existed when women wore frocks and several layers of clothing underneath, so clearly, fashion or the way of dressing has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Moreover, according to an international statistic, 97% of sexual abuse cases are never reported. Therefore, it would mean that each year, a huge number of sexual cases of violence go unreported in Mauritius!

Unfortunately, most women/girls prefer to bear in silence, because that would be a lot easier than to speak up for themselves and then be judged for their clothes, choices, behaviour or lifestyles.
It’s paradoxical that people (including men) pray so many female deities and yet fail to respect the females around them!

What needs to be done?

« Parents, you need to tell your kids about sex, not reproduction, but the pleasurable part of it. Do not make it an awkward topic in your home, because if you push him/her in the shadows, they are going to find Pornhub in there and nobody wants that toxicity. » – Jameela Jamil. (British activist)
Sex education is not a biology subject, but a sociology and a psychology one. It’s high time for some rebranding, from the boring and ineffective “Sex Education” to a more interesting one.
Lastly, do school officers and workplaces even have the necessary means to tackle cases of sexual violence? Have they been properly trained for that? If not, then why? All the talks about gender equality in boardrooms and Parliament should percolate in the classrooms, offices and on the streets. Only then would we be talking!

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