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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sexual Education

In one classroom of mine several weeks ago (FYI, all of my students are college students of one state university in Semarang, studying at various faculties) we talked about the importance of giving sexual education to children. In fact, the main topic for that occasion was about advertisement as an important of media’s survival, especially television. When mentioning some inappropriate ads on television, due to their inappropriate talk, scene, products (such as condom), we inevitably talked about giving sexual education to children.

“What age is considered ‘enough’ for parents to talk about sex openly to their children?” I asked my students.

The answers varied, starting from when young girls get their first period, when boys get circumcised, or when they get the first wet dream, even until when both boys and girls reach the age of seventeen.
Listening to her classmates’ various answers, one student told us about one Islamic kindergarten where her niece was studying. The kindergarten students already got their sexual education from the teacher—this means it is already in the curriculum of the school. One form of the program to give sexual education to those very young children was to watch a movie how a baby is born. Thus, they are expected to know already that babies are not from miraculously coming out of the mother’s stomach.

I was amazed to hear that.

I went to Islamic kindergarten as well as Islamic elementary school. I didn’t get such education. My mother told me that I was out of her stomach, after her obstetrician said, “sim salabim, abracadabra.” After that, her stomach closed again.

I remember when I was a kid, I was very close to my big brother. We used to play a lot together. We played both boys and girls games. We sometimes used to play in the rain together too, with both of us naked. And then we took a shower together. Seeing my brother’s genital organ different from mine, I asked my mother about that. She simply answered, “Girls already got circumcised directly after they were born. Your brother later will be circumcised too, after he finishes reciting Alquran.”

This explanation evoked some feelings in me. First I felt grateful. Since I got circumcised when I was a baby, I didn’t need to feel the pain. I even already forgot if I underwent such a horrible experience. Second, I felt pity toward my brother. He inevitably would undergo the painful feeling when he got circumcised. Third, I became curious what my brother’s genital organ would be like after circumcision.

This made me wait for my brother’s circumcision excitedly and tensely as well.

Unfortunately, I had to get very big disappointment because my curiosity wasn’t answered. My parents strongly warned my brother and me that we could not take a shower together anymore after he got circumcision. He even was not let get dressed in front of me openly. He especially had to hide his genital organ before me.

Guess what happened to the naïve and innocent very young Nana?

I thought that my brother’s genital organ was all mutilated. I naively thought that his genital organ became exactly like mine, a vagina.

When I got married at the age of twenty three, and the first time Angie’s dad asked me to touch his genital organ, I was about to faint because in fact it was not like mine. I thought he didn’t get circumcised yet while in my religion, Islam, a man who is not circumcised is not ‘halal’ to marry. Therefore, he strongly convinced me that he got circumcised (while laughing at my being foolish and naïve). Then he explained that in circumcision process, only the skin of the head of his penis was removed.

More or less a year after that, I delivered my baby girl, Angie. The severe pain I underwent in my vagina made me forget what my mom used to say, “Babies come out of the mother’s stomach.” After that, I talked to myself, “Ah, in fact, my mom used to lie to me!”

Several days later, I looked at her tiny genital organ (she weighed 2,6 kgs) and felt curious, “Her genital organ is exactly like mine. If I do the circumcision toward her, which part of it will be mutilated?”

If only I had got correct and proper sexual education …

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1 comment:

johnorford said...

wow that's amazing.

u r totally right sex education is v important. it's a big part of life, and ignoring doesn't help at all.