Cultural Challenge: Sex Education for Kids


The JIS scandal might not longer be the headlines in Indonesia’s media. However, it has left me with so many questions and contemplations. One of them is how and what younger kids nowadays know about their sexuality.

Lately I have come across one Public Service Announcement Ads from NSPCC (National Service for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).

Our eastern culture is one of the stumbling blocks for the sex education in our country. It is the shame which comes with the talk about the private parts that makes children wouldn’t tell anyone when they were abused.

I agree with the ads, that knowing about their private parts is one way to protect them from being sexually abused by adults. But to be able to introduce them with this idea, parents would have to fight their own “taboo” and start talking.

It is not easy, of course, because we didn’t get this knowledge when we were young. We did not know because our parents did not tell us these things. It is horrible feeling, I guess, because there is no guide book about how to teach your toddler about protecting their private parts from others, without raising the unnecessary curiosity.

Being educated and coming from a better social background apparently wouldn’t help. I remember quite vividly one of our politicians, on television, told everybody in the world what he thought about sex education. He thought it was not only unnecessary to make young children aware of their sexuality, but also dangerous.

Our culture believes that sex is dangerous and shameful. Children were taught that it is dirty and disgusting, with the expectation from the parents that they would get themselves abstinent until they are over age. But with the nowadays society, that would not work. And that definitely wouldn’t help them when they were abused.

Feeling dirty and disgusting wouldn’t encourage kids to tell their parents when they were being molested, would it?

I am not an expert in child psychology, and I don’t have kids. But I know how lacking I was in this department when I was much younger than I am today. I did not know what menstruation was, and where baby comes from. It is horrible growing up with this raging curiosity. In a way, the dial up connection helped me keep my innocence until I left home and over age.

Our culture is the challenge to solve this problem. Maybe it is not my problem now, but I think my nieces and nephews should grow up equipped with this knowledge to protect them from bad people.



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