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Plea for sex education to curb sexual assault against minors

By WANG YIQING | China Daily | Updated: 2020-05-29 07:04

Ling Feng, a neurosurgeon with Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, suggested during the annual session to make sex education compulsory in schools.

The move comes against the backdrop of a rising number of reports of sexual assault cases against children. Children are most vulnerable to sexual assault not only because they are too weak to protect themselves from their tormentors, but also because many may not know what constitutes sexual assault.

That is also because sex is a taboo topic in traditional Chinese society. Many parents are too shy to discuss sex-related content with their children, forget educating them on how to prevent sexual assault. They fear that discussing sex-related subjects with their children corrupts their young minds, a fear that extends to teachers and even society.

In 2017, a mother in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, complained that sex education textbook taught in her child's primary school is improper for children. Although the book had been compiled by a research group on children and sex education at the Beijing Normal University, the protest resulted in the book's withdrawal and suspension of sex education classes in primary schools.

Such parents fail to realize that without sex education their children will not know what constitutes sexual assault and not be able to protect themselves against it. Instead, their ignorance will expose them to greater risks. It is time parents, educators and the entire society realize the significance of imparting sex education to children to help them defend against sexual assaults.

Ling Feng also stressed on sex education for boys. It is a misconception that boys are relatively safer and only girls are sexually assaulted-crimes against children in recent years show that boys are just as vulnerable.

Also, not inculcating a healthy attitude toward sex in boys leads to unhealthy mental issues in the long run.

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