According to UNICEF, around 243 million adolescents live in India. If we consider roughly half of them to be boys by the general estimate, then we can understand how important it is for our development model to pick up that considerable section within its core to pursue menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR) agenda.
Indian society is the living embodiment of a patriarchal mindset that differentiates between genders. On one hand, where women are given lesser opportunities, boys, on the other hand, are left to roam without any knowledge of ethics, morals, consent, sexual rights or bodily rights. Isn’t that a paradox? And this paradox arises from our care and upbringing that makes our society uneven in nature.
Anil (name changed) is afraid to use technology due to the fear of embarrassment and lack of information about his own body. He didn’t know about nightfall and therefore the occurrence of it broke him down and scared him to death. “Mujhe neend mein kabhi kabhi swapndosh ho jaata aur main darr jaata hu. Maine kabhi kuch galat nahi kiya. Fir aisa kyun ho raha hai mere saath?” (Sometimes, I experience nightfall when I sleep and it scares me. I’ve never done anything wrong, then why does this happen to me?)
To read Anil’s story, click here.
Now, it might be clear to you that there is so much dearth of SRHR information among teens, especially boys. People still treat this as a taboo. It is very sad to even imagine how many boys like Anil are currently living in this world of ours.
It feels like these boys have been left out of the developmental and inclusive growth model of awareness. Our question is simple: how many of these forgotten boys like Anil would it take our authorities to include boys in SRHR conversations too?
We are worried and every concerned individual who cares about society as a whole and human rights should be worried too. We should not just sit out and wait for a magic hammer to strike on the issue. Let’s take our voice out and initiate the conversation.