Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Surge in sex crimes

Re-educating ourselves on sex and morality

It was alarming to read of the escalating sex crimes in the country with almost half the victims being children and teenage girls. It is disturbing to know that rape has become so rampant, happening everywhere, at anytime and anyone, even innocent children, can be victims. The latest incident that shocked the nation was the atrocious rape of a 10year old girl by a van driver in front of the other children in his van.

The incidence of rape of minors is on the rise. According to police statistics there were 2,048 rape cases involving girls aged 16 last year, compared to 925 cases in 2005 (“Surge in sex crimes”, Star, August 1). It is even more shocking to realise that what is highlighted in the media is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more that go unreported for various reasons.

Many reasons can be offered for this escalating sex crime in the country but the most important underlying cause is the casual attitude to sex and morality especially among the younger generation. There is a general breakdown of morality in society which may be the result of the waning moral influence of parents, teachers and religious leaders on the younger generation.

Abuse of the advances in technology like the internet and mobile phones are also important factors that contribute the declining morality among the young. With the advent of these enhanced communication tools, the access to pornographic material and its transmission are greatly facilitated leading to a promiscuous society. Sex which used to be a taboo is now freely discussed even by the young. They are not shy anymore because of their explicit exposure to such materials on the internet.

The casual attitude to sex and morality has resulted in the lost of the sanctity of life and marriage. Extra-marital sex that used to be abhorred before is becoming rampant, even among women. This in turn is the major cause of the sky- rocketing rate of divorce which is threatening the very basic fabric of the family unit. How can the children be expected to grow in an environment of high morals when the parents themselves are separated because of immorality?

Religion which used to be a powerful moral guide too seems to be losing its grip on the people. Despite the manifold increase in the places of worship, the moral values among the people appear to be on the decline. It may be an indication of the failure of religious institutions in instilling the right values in them.

Today religions in general have become more obsessed with form rather than essence. People seem to be happier to promote the rituals rather than the ideals of their respective religions. It is deeply disturbing that many religious festivals are being commercialised by promoting them as tourist attractions.

Serious efforts must be made to arrest the deteriorating morals in our society if we are serious in fighting sex crimes. Internet and other modern technology are here to stay. They have become essential parts of our lives without which we will lose out in the competitive global world. Instead of blaming these modern technologies, it would be more important to educate and guide the children from a very young on the proper use of these gadgets.

They must be taught that while sex is an essential part of life, indulgence in it must be regulated and guided by our cultural and religious principles. We may never be able to eradicate sex crimes altogether but can at least reduce them by the inculcation of sound moral values in our children from a very young age by our own exemplary moral behaviour. Parents, teachers, both school and religious, and political leaders must themselves lead good moral lives themselves if they want to impress their young on the importance of morality in life.

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