Talking about sex in some Muslim countries can be a death sentence, but one Pakistani province is offering groundbreaking sex education lessons to its female school students.
In the rural village of Johi in the poverty-stricken Sindh province, teachers are offering basic sex ed to the 700 girls who are enrolled in eight local schools run by the Village Shadabad Organisation.
With subjects covering everything from body changes during puberty, to what their rights are before and during marriage, to self defence, the young female pupils are being versed in the realms of sex education, a taboo in the conservative Muslim nation of 180 million people.
“We cannot close our eyes,” Akbar Lashari, head of the organisation, told Reuters. “It’s a topic people don’t want to talk about but it’s fact of our life.”
Among the controversial topics up for discussion is marital rape, a radical idea in a country where it is not a crime to force yourself onto your spouse.
“We tell them their husband can’t have sex with them if they are not willing,” said Lashari.
According to Lashari, parents are notified about the classes before enrollment, and none have objected so far.
The eight schools received sponsorship from Australian gas company BHP Billiton, but Lashari maintains that sex education was the villagers’ own idea.