Why Does SRH-Education Matter?

Why Does SRH-Education Matter?

2020-07-21

Talking About SRH: It’s Not Just One Conversation

An effective and well-rounded SRH-education has been shown to positively impact people’s lives and health.

When informed of the impact of their decisions, individuals exhibit a delayed initiation of early intercourse, with increased condom and contraception use. With regards to public health and the longterm benefits of SRH-education, in countries where SRH is comprehensively taught, it has been shown that there is a reduction in gender-based and partner violence; an increased sense of gender-equality and overall improved well-being. It can be concluded that high quality SRH-education and the promotion of a positive and safe learning environment, contributes to improved mental and physical health.

Due to the prevalent “hush hush” approach to SRH-education in our society, it is believed that exposing children to SRH will corrupt them. There is a cloud of “shame” and “disgust” around sexual and reproductive health, with the assumption that talking about it is essentially giving a child permission to engage in such activities. However, it has been shown that SRH-education does not increase sexual behavior, in fact, it decreases the likelihood of early sexual risk-taking. Children who are educated on sexual and reproductive health have been shown to have an increased sense of body autonomy and their rights within relationships, better communication with their parents and improved risk management and judgement skills.

The little talks we do have on SRH, only revolve around intercourse, treating SRH as a one-dimensional topic when in fact it is a series of discussions on an array of topics. Discussions on intercourse often focus on the “don’t’s” – don’t do it or you might get pregnant and disappoint your family. Don’t do it or you might get a disease. Don’t do it because it’s not right unless you’re married. Our conversations are usually very heavy on the emotional and religious aspects, presenting the topic of SRH as something that is scary and bad. This frames an otherwise natural process as something that is “forbidden” and its consequences as “deserved punishments”. Though on a surface level it may seem that you are informing your child of the consequences, associating anger and shame with the changes and feelings your child will experience, only serves to promote a negative image in your child’s mind regarding their own bodies.

Assuming that your child will grow up and just know is incredibly detrimental. Children will always stumble across information on explicit sexual and reproductive health, be it through peers or the internet, and more often than not, this information is incorrect. They are surrounded by highly sexualized media in their daily lives, without any additional context on how to process it. Misinformation can interfere with effective and safe risk management, leading to unfortunate situations that could have easily been avoided with proper education.

SRH isn’t just about reproduction – it’s about promoting safe, compassionate and responsible behavior; understanding healthy and loving relationships; developing a positive body image and knowing how to deal with growing up. Talking about SRH and layering it in day-to-day conversations over the years, works to educate your child on how to take control of their bodies – and equip them with the knowledge and skills to express themselves freely.

You’re not corrupting them. You’re empowering them.