By Madhavi Jadhav:
We cohabit in an indulgent world, where we get what we wish for, where all our answers seem a mere click away. But are we asking the right questions? And more importantly, are we asking them to the right people? There is a schism today in our collective psyche, oscillating between sexual mania and Dhat syndrome. At one extreme is the graphic visual imagery made accessible to the young impressionable minds by the all-pervasive internet. At the other end, we not only avoid, but harbour revulsion to the ‘dirty three letter word’. Not to the act per se (why else would we continue to multiply at such an alarming rate? It is not mitosis you know), but discussing it.
In India 12% of girls in the age group of 15-16 are mothers. Of all the AIDS patients in our country, 31% are the youth. Every second child in India has faced one type of abuse or the other. Still, we say we don’t need sex education!
Sex education is still very much a taboo in India. Parents get scandalised when it’s brought up. Teachers are uncomfortable discussing it in schools. And the internet is not always a reliable source. This affects the kids consciously or subconsciously and typically has repercussions in the form of depression due to sudden physical and mental change which they are not properly aware of. Also, unprotected sex or incidents of sexual abuse don’t happen because of sex education, rather due to the lack of it.
My niece got her periods when she was 11 years old. She asked her mother several types of questions like why periods happen? Why they only happen to women? Can she get rid of them? Why it comes every month? My sister in law and my cousin both were uncomfortable answering her questions. They were trying to dodge her questions. This made me think, even today in 2016, the situation is still the same. The words like condom, sanitary pads are considered ‘taboos’ in my family. I thought my cousin and my sister in law, who are almost a decade older than I am, wouldn’t keep their kids uninformed as my parents did. However, when my niece asked these question and everyone in the family didn’t care to answer, I realised something had to be done.
It is difficult for parents to talk about menstruation or the reasons behind night ejaculations. People in India either don’t want to talk about issues regarding sexuality or are not informed enough to talk about it. ThatMate aims to be a one-stop, reliable and trustworthy solution for all the issues surrounding sexuality. By providing proper education and awareness on topics related to sexuality, we plan to decrease the taboo and misconceptions associated with it and hope to achieve long-term impacts like reduced teenage pregnancy, reduced STDs including AIDS. Sexuality education doesn’t talk only about the act of sex, it also discusses child abuse, teenage pregnancy, safe sex, STD’s, puberty, how to distinguish good and bad touch etc. Having faced these issues ourselves, we have an emotional connect with the problems and are very passionate to solve them.