Remember Monsoon Wedding?  


 There has been a fair bit of noise made about the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum (2015) during and since the June 2018 election.

The current government has made it illegal for that curriculum to be taught in elementary schools and the website has been purged of the curriculum.

Note that I use the correct terminology,  Health and Physical Education Curriculum.

Human Development and Sexual Health is only a small part of that comprehensive 200-plus page document – just one strand.

I talked to hundreds of people door-to-door during the last Ontario provincial election campaign, and though many knew about the document there wasn’t a single person who had actually read the document.

Most said they had heard that there was sex-ed in schools and when asked about their concerns they talked about “the sex-ed curriculum” and expressed concerns such as “teaching our children how to become homosexual”; “talking to our children about naming their private parts”; and several other concerns that many thought inappropriate for children to learn.

Obviously, the previous government had not done a good job of consulting a wide spectrum of experienced educators who would have explained that the content had to be transparently disseminated and explained to large groups of parents across the province and across religious lines.

There clearly wasn’t a widespread enough education of parents about the curriculum before launching it. If they had consulted properly and explained it properly, more parents would understand that the most important lesson that the particular strand taught was children’s safety.

If you look at scholarly data on child sex abuse it is horrific to discover that in most reported cases where little children are sexually abused the perpetrators are family members.

I quote here from Stats Canada police data:

Similar to crime in general, most child and youth victims of sexual offences knew the person accused of the offence. About nine in ten (88 per cent) of all sexual offences were committed by an individual known to the victim, with the remainder (12 per cent) committed by a stranger. More specifically, the accused person was an acquaintance of the victim in 44 per cent of incidents, a family member in 38 per cent of incidents, and an intimate partner 6 per cent of the time.

Based on police-reported data, very young children were mostly victimized by a family member while older children were most frequently victimized by an acquaintance or stranger. For those age 0 to 3 years, a family member was the accused person for two-thirds (66 per cent) of victims.

The involvement of family members as accused persons decreased with age, reaching 19 per cent for victims aged 16 to 17 years of age (

The repealed Health and Physical Education curriculum taught elementary school children critically important lessons.

Yes, it did teach correct terminology for their body parts and very importantly, it taught children that their bodies are private; that no-one is allowed to invade their privacy; no-one is allowed to touch their most personal and private areas, not even family members.

Clear thinking people would know that loving parents will sensibly continue to bathe little children – the curriculum was not taking away a parents’ right to bathe babies. But it was teaching children that as they grow, their bodies are theirs alone and their privacy is paramount.

As desis we must admit that child molestation occurs in families.

Remember Mira Nair’s movie Monsoon Wedding, a 2001 drama which revealed the shameful family secret of child molestation? Sadly, child sexual abuse is rampant in all countries. So, as responsible adults, it is important to know that little children must be taught from a young age to protect themselves. Responsible parents will talk to their children in a safe and non-threatening manner about the dangers of abuse, strategies to protect themselves and how to safely report to their parents when their privacy is being invaded.

All children’s safety is paramount.


Dr Vicki Bismilla is a retired Superintendent of Schools and retired college Vice-President, Academic, and Chief Learning Officer. She has authored two books. 

DEAR DIDI, If it’s my rooM, shouldn’t my rules apply?


Dear Didi,

My mom and I are fighting over how I keep my room. I say it’s my space, I can keep it as I want. She says the space is in her house and she can’t stand the mess in her house. She lectures me incessantly and then comes in to clean it, getting very angry about how I “treat her like a servant”. How I do get past this and back to being nice? – IN A MESS

This is one thing that you can actively control to get past it and back to being nice. I gotta say, you are one lucky girl!

Yes, it is your space, but by refusing to clean up after yourself, you get your own cleaning service in the form of your mom to do it.

As you grow older, you won’t always have your mom around and you may wish you had been nicer to her when you had the chance.

If you truly want to keep it your space and don’t want to “treat her like a servant” and get back to being nice, then there is a way to do it.

Tell her you want to do a little experiment.

You agree to live in your space for one month and be responsible for the way it is – dirty or clean or messy.

However, she is not allowed to come in and clean it regardless of how much of a mess it is.

But when you leave your space, you have to follow her rules and keep it clean, this means the living room, bathroom, kitchen – all of her spaces.

If you want her to respect your vision of your space, then turn-around is fair play and she gets to make sure that you respect her space, too.

I know that I didn’t always have space to call my own when I was growing up.

We were a big family and we had to share rooms for years.

When I finally got my own space, I didn’t even believe it at first and I wanted to decorate it and keep it clean.

However, I was always asked to clean the rest of the house and I would fight with my younger sister to figure out who was going to clean what since my mom was often working and away.

To this day, I still am not a fan of cleaning but it’s funny once the house is clean I almost can feel my mind clear its cobwebs as well and I’m much more happy and productive.

I know this might be annoying right now, but it is a rite of passage where we are taught to take care of ourselves and our surroundings which will definitely come in handy when it is really your own space and yours alone.

And you may even appreciate what your mother did for you. 


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