Sex Videos vs Sex Education

In the last two weeks, we have witnessed various comments and responses related to two sex videos allegedly featuring three high-profile celebrities in Indonesia. Ordinary people, community and religious leaders as well as government officials have expressed their shock and different views on the issue by way of daily conversation, mass media and through on-line social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.

For sure, most merely condemned the celebrities and the people who leaked the videos on to the Internet and some even suggested reactive responses including searching students’ cellular phones and bags to ensure porn is not brought to schools.

Of course, there are also some figures - including researchers and activists - who conveyed more mature responses, including proposing the urgent need for wider and more comprehensive sex education to equip children and adolescents with relevant information about safe sex, sexuality, reproduction and relationships.

Unfortunately, instead of supporting these mature and constructive responses, several high-ranking government officials, such as Education Minister Muhammad Nuh, declared his objection to a broader implementation of sex education, even though sex education is now taught in many schools across the country. Nuh added that children did not need formal education about sex as they would learn about it naturally.

“I am perhaps an obsolete person. I do not see the significance of sex education in school,” Nuh was quoted by Antara after an education committee meeting presided over by Vice President Boediono at the vice presidential office in Jakarta.

The minister maintained that sex education in schools would not protect children from the harmful consequences of Internet technology as evidenced in the recent circulation of sex videos allegedly featuring high-profile celebrities.

Furthermore, Nuh expressed his concern about the spread of the sex videos on the Internet, but refused requests from the community and civil society groups that the government should formalize sex education as part of the national curriculum. He instead recommended teachers step up inspections of students’ cell phones to check for pornographic content (The Jakarta Post, June 11).

Such a reactive response as expressed by the education minister indicated there is widespread ignorance and misconceptions about sex education within the government as well as a desire to implement repressive policies on sex-related issues.

It is an irony that such ignorance was shown by high-ranking government officials, such as the minister of finance.

These government officials are ignoring the facts and evidence that such a repressive approach would not benefit children, adolescents or young adults. Rather, such a response would provide fertile soil for myths and misconceptions about sex, sexuality and relationships.

Furthermore, such a repressive approach would deny children, adolescents and young people their right to adequate information, knowledge, skills and a healthy environment in which to learn about responsibly in sex-related matters.

Abundant studies both in developed and developing countries have shown that earlier, broader and comprehensive education on sex, sexuality, reproduction and relationship issues positively impact children, adolescents and young people.

Such education prepares and better equips children, adolescents and young people with essential information, knowledge and skills to grow healthily and responsibly as well as reduce harmful consequences of rampant myths and misconceptions related to sex and sexuality, such as teen pregnancies, unwanted and unplanned pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS.

The fact that ignorance and misconceptions about sex education are still prevalent in our society, and among religious and community leaders and even high-ranking government officials, such as the health minister, indicates the need for more intensive advocacy programs for sex, sexuality and reproductive health issues by public health and social researchers, medical practitioners, activists, community organizations and mass media.

We also need to advocate the press to cover and report sex and sex-related issues in more responsible ways. In fact, most television reports on the recent sex videos scandal were characterized with sensationalism.

Most even broadcast clips of the videos and largely ignored the need to protect children and young viewers from watching these inappropriate reports.

sumber: The Jakarta Post

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