Sexuality & Intimacy Seminar
Voice Vision organized a day-long session on orientation of the human body, sexuality and intimate relationships for the visually impaired, at the Hiranandani college of Nursing (HICON) Powai, Mumbai last Sunday 26th August 2012. The session was conducted by a team of experienced Gynecologists, psychologists, Doctors involved in public health, and women and disability rights activist. The overall event stretched across from 9 AM to 6:30 PM inclusive of lunch breaks and refreshment timeouts. A brief overview of the event alongside the individual sub-topics which were covered is given below. The first session focused on “Knowing one’s body” conducted in separate rooms for men & women which dealt with the Understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. In the men’s room the session was driven by Dr. Mukesh Gupta (practicing gynecologist) along with Dr. Percy Bharucha (from Lifesupporters Institute of Health Sciences) & Dr. Gunjan Gadodia, who helped with practical understanding of the female anatomy through touch & feel on the female life-size Anatomical model. In the women’s room the session was conducted by Dr. Anita Soni (practicing gynecologist, Hiranandani Hospital), Dr. Evelet Sequeira (public health specialist) & Dr. Rohini Ramamurthy (Public health consultant) along with Dr. Pallavi Kamble (from Lifesupporters Institute of Health Sciences) & Dr. Neha Goyal (Dermatologist), who helped with practical understanding of the male anatomy with the help of the male life-size Anatomical model through touch & feel. Some of the key topics covered were: Reproductive system of men and women, Menstruation, Sexual intercourse, Masturbation and Pregnancy contraception and sexually transmitted infections, Menopause in case of women and men, Impotence and infertility. The session broke off for lunch after the hands on demonstration of using the condom on penis models. The session post lunch was on “sexuality and relationships”. It was divided in two parts where the first half on “Sexuality: myths and misconceptions” was covered in separate rooms for men & women by Mrs. Sarbani Bhattacharya (Counselor from Bombay Cambridge school) in the women’s room & Dr. Sameer Pawar (Public health specialist) in the men’s room. Some of the key points touched upon were: Masturbation and menstruation myths and misconceptions, Myths surrounding difference in Sexual drives in men & women, sexual needs and desires, Community myths and believes about relationships and misconceptions about homosexuality. The second half of the second session on “Relationships” was a combined session conducted by Mrs. Sarbani Bhattacharya and Ms. Nidhi Goyal (writer & disability rights activist). It was an interactive and informative discussion driven by audience participation and case studies on sexuality, sexual orientation, negotiating romantic relationships, and managing rejections and breakups. After the tea break it was time for the final session of the day “Safety and Abuse” conducted by Dr. Evelet Sequeira. This was also a combined session for men & women where there were discussions on discourse on forms of abuse and violence faced in everyday life through an open floor driven by experiences and interactive cases on child sex abuse, domestic violence, and intimate partner sexual violence. The prime motive behind staging this event was to drive home the point that there can be integrated relationships and one only needs to learn, manage and lead the same through different ways and with utmost dignity. We express our heartfelt gratitude to all the speakers of our seminar for taking out time of their busy schedules and sharing their knowledge with us. We thank all of the facilitators who helped the participants during session one to practically understand the body anatomy on the life-size models. A special thanks to Dr. Percy Bharucha & his team at Lifesupporters Institute of Health Sciences, for their ever-continuing support to Voice Vision and helping us at every step to drive our health and safety focused initiatives. We also thank Dr. Sujit Chatterjee, CEO – Dr. Hiranandani Hospital, and Ms. Chitra, Vice-Principal and caretaker of the Hicon college, for lending us their premises & the anatomical models used during the seminar, and thank Mr. Manish Joshi, Manager-marketing, who helped us with all the support infrastructure and other arrangements. A big thank you to Ms. Nidhi Goyal for initiating and driving this session end-to end without whom this session would have looked excellent only on paper. We thank our Voice Vision committee who has been working hard behind the scenes to make this seminar a success. We would like to express our gratitude to all of the volunteers including the NCC students from Bhavans College, Andheri for their prompt services on the day of the event and also thank the staff of Ascent networks who have assisted us at different levels for different activities. Last but not least, we thank all participants who attended this seminar and became a part of this unique experience, which is basic, but essential in anyone’s walk of life. We request all participants to fill up the feedback form  and give us your suggestions / views for all our future initiatives and knowledge sessions.