Iconic gender rights activist, playwright and founder of V-Day: A Global Movement for Ending Violence against Women and Girls, Eve Ensler, on Tuesday, has called for a massive sex-education drive in India.

A majority of men, she said, citing studies, learn about sex, for the first time, from pornography, which portrays women as objects.

“If you start on porn, then you basically violate the women or make the women feel terrible… resulting in a cycle called sexual misery,” she told students at Asian College of Journalism (ACJ).

Absence of sex education would mean continuing with the misery cycle that always escalates to violence, she said.

Ms. Ensler, whose works include ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ a play translated into 50 languages and performed in 140 countries, said violence against women is not a personal problem but connected to other systemic injustices, whether patriarchal, economic or gender, and media has a role in highlighting them.

New media journalists, she said, can help curb violence against women by creating a vision where women are equal, safe and free.

Ms. Ensler, herself a survivor of child sexual abuse, said, last year, India was avant garde in terms of the media coverage of the gang rape of a young woman in Delhi.

“That became a catalyst… even what happened in Tarun Tejpal’s (Tehelka editor-in-chief) case was a breakthrough. The story of violence against women is being told by the media,” she said.

Ms. Ensler said this year the V-Day movement to ‘Strike, dance, and rise for freedom, safety and equality’ is being escalated and deepened. While violence against women is epidemic and manifests itself differently from culture to culture in the form of female genital mutilation, gang rape, ‘I think it is the mother issue of our times.’

Her speech was preceded by a Thappattam performance and a poetry session. Theatre personality N.S. Yamuna, writer Parvathi Nayar and dancer Sangeeta Isvaran participated in a panel discussion.

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