By Rigya Singh:
“Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn’t!”
George Bernard Shaw
When I was in class 10 at a convent school tucked far away in the wilderness of the hills of Mussoorie, I was learning about the biological mysteries of our bodies. It is a wonderful creation – (wo)man’s body is. I have never considered the ability to reproduce anything short of magic. However despicable the baby might be, it is always a wonder that new life can be created so easily.
So, I was at the Catholic school. Their resistance against sex and the need for children is a laughing paradox for me. So, without going into an explanation for the need of sex education, I would say that for curiosity ridden 15 year olds, that day when a little nun-nurse in a grey habit arrived to “educate” us on benefits and demerits of sex, we were hyperventilating with excitement, not so much because of the sex part, but due to exemption from classes. Let’s face it, our biology books and the ever searching minds of adolescent girls in an all girls convent school pretty much fills you up with knowledge and not so knowledgeable stories.
We sat in the hall where the nun demonstrated in very unappealing terms, the meaning of sex. Most of the seminar concentrated on pro-life lecture, the cons of having sex, stories only relating to prostitutes as if that was the only profession we were willing to choose. Now, we were 15 year olds literally locked up. It was a very Catholic sex lecture, a perfect mix of religion intruding on the territory of education. They disregarded that some of us might like to be pro-choice, that some of us might want to be with more than one man, that some of us didn’t think prostitution was wrong or that some of us didn’t think sex was all that evil. Sex is not sin. Abortion is not evil. Scaring us off sex isn’t the way to do it. Educate us on both pros and cons, an unbiased reasoning.
The second part of that seminar consisted of showing us pictures of diseased vaginas and a video of a third trimester abortion. Might I add that the oldest student there were no more than 15 or 16. It was a very selective dissemination of knowledge. First trimester abortions are safe (for citation use Google) and legal at some places. This was completely overlooked. The mother getting an abortion was painted as evil and the abortion clinics as filled with quacks. But there is also an other side of the story which they completely neglected to mention. It took me long to get rid of the images of that day and to get out of that Catholic mindset. I am glad I opted for Biology in the last two years of school. It gave a more holistic picture. But probably, that is what I get for studying at a missionary school, ideological propaganda could not stay far.