No More Finger on Lips – Reconceptualizing the Frame of Three Monkeys in Terms of Sexuality

Abortion!!!! No, No, No…. Sex is a taboo… Child abuse definitely the fault of child…. 14 years old but still unmarried, Raped!!! Her fortune….. And this goes on

Reality by nature and taboo by norms, becoming a spectacle with time, because everyone of us believes that talking about sexuality is a hushed up theme. NO is the ultimate response of any question asked in lieu of knowing about sexuality. The more sexuality is kept a secret, the more it is explored. The more we say No, the more we assist in growing crimes.

Sexuality in developing nations is a definite theme, which always relates to something that is bad, filthy, not to be discussed and more extensively it’s only related to intercourse. Since we are born, we are taught that speaking out the word Sex is bad. “Sssshhh!!! Don’t say this…”. Everyone stops us. Everyone wants us not to pronounce it. Yet we all believe that everyone is sharing an ultimate truth with us. Later, we hold it as our value because it came from our ancestors. We considered those people the expert of knowledge about human sexuality as they were older and so called “mature” in age. But the misery is, even they can’t be blamed as they were taught the same way and they grew in the same mode.

Do we still grow with similar understanding or are we planning to replicate the same concept to the coming generations? I think the answer to this is “no way”. We should strive to end this kind of classic conceptualization through scientific evidences, improvisation and advocacy. This might be difficult as it’s prospective and time taking but not at all impossible. The scientific and evidence based knowledge which we share with the future generations will create obstruction in them and the curiosity of exploring about human sexuality will drive towards a positive nature of learning.

I always remember my mentor displaying a picture of “three monkeys (Gandhi ji kay Bandar)”, whenever she would discuss about the view of addressing sexuality in our context. Those three monkeys used to display the value about (1) not seeing bad (2) not speaking bad and (3) not listening to bad things through covering eyes, mouth and ears respectively. That very well fits the context where we are growing because all those three gestures are practiced by considering discussion about sexuality as “wrong or bad”.

If we think over it, that how much wrong or bad is asscoaited with human sexuality, then we must recall what our identity was, when we were born. (a) Everybody initially recognized us through our biological sex. Baby girl or a boy, was always responded on the basis of our genitals. (b) Our first travel was from womb to vagina, through the birth canal. (c) Moreover, we were assimilated or created, when a sperm won the race to hit the finish line of reaching to ova. Obviously it resulted, when our parents decided to meet one fine day or night. So we can see how the reality is converted into a taboo because of varied perceptions. We can reflect on our own whether it ia actually wrong or bad in talking about sex, sexuality, sexual health or sex education.

Learning through my experiences and learning about sexual health, I have always gained much knowledge and replicated it for transformation. I loved a quote displayed by my mentor in a session that “life is sexually transmitted and has 100% mortality rate. – Anonymous”. This helped me to brainstorm that how far we have been in our material and technical lives, but we have deliberately ignored a reality that lies within us or is connected to our life.

I took a stand through conceptualizing and transforming the classical diagram of these “three monkeys (Gandhi ji kay Bandar)”, by replacing the positions of their hands from usual placements (i.e. eyes, mouth and ears) to the sensitive parts of body that are buttocks, chest and genitals. This denoted that while considering or discussing sexuality we should remove hands from the classic body parts and start talking, listening, seeing and thinking about the sensitivity of these sexual health rights and issues. Also, the experiences we face throughout in our lives regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights are connected to these parts. Either it is abortion, rape or child sexual abuse; all are connected to these sensitive organs of our body. And we tend to skip them since we are children, because we were not even trained to name them properly.

The modified three monkeys (Concept by: Sarmad, Sketch drawn by Salman M. Soomar) source: Watch dog2016-Youth Coalition

Now the time has arrived where all of us should enhance our knowledge about these delicate themes on the basis of scientific knowledge, not on the basis of myths. We should practice healthy ways to cherish our rights instead of indirectly hurting ourselves. We must help others by listening and supporting them and help ourselves and others by reaching to accurate sources of assistance. So, no one of us becomes the victim of abuse or harassment and none of our children suffer from guilt during their puberty. No more finger on your lips, be bold, learn more and talk about it.

*I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge my Mentor Nausheen Salim.

Sarmad Soomar