A five years old girl was gang raped in the capital city of Punjab about a week ago. This shameful act was brought to light owing to the media. The girl was left outside the hospital a day after she was found missing. According to the doctors, she was raped several times and was in a very miserable situation. Police arrested many suspects and most of them were released after routine inquiry. Widespread outrage dominated social media while private TV channels prominently broadcast reports on the girl and her ordeal. Several NGOs staged protest rallies and demanded the arrest of the culprits.
Child abuse, child rape and child molestation are the things that are avoided talking about in our society though they are our bitter realities. Spreading awareness and taking preventive measures against such vicious acts is considered shameful. One of my acquaintances sent her young daughter to a school about sexual education and she faced much criticism even from her family but she persisted. Mostly children are abused by some close relatives or the persons they trust the most. People usually stay quiet because of the respect of the families and so the children become more vulnerable to abuse and misuse this way. They suffer grievous and most painful physical and mental torture all because no one raises voice for them.
Sexual abuse is committed at large number in Pakistan and ranges from harassment to incest. UNICEF says that the reason is lack of proper law enforcement, negligence of parents and lack of awareness among the children and the society. According to reports of UNICEF, almost 2,252 children were abused during the year 2010 and 2,303 cases recorded by national press during the year 2011. On an average, approximately 3.9 children are sexually assaulted in the country. These are the cases that were reported and there will certainly be many more that went unreported. Such cases occur at a rate two times higher in rural areas than urban areas.
When it comes to seek for justice, societal stigma presents obstacles at the family and community level as well as the justice system. At the same time, “to be associated with such a crime is considered a source of shame, and families cover up the incident to protect themselves. Upon trying to seek justice rape victims are often treated in a dismissive manner, accused of lying or having somehow brought the crime upon themselves.” (A study by the international human rights monitoring NGO, 2011).
Scholars never talked about child abuse in the country while they are very out spoken when protesting and rallying against the government on the streets. This is seriously an alarming situation that will lead our future generations to be schizophrenic and society will remain nothing more than a forest of wild animals. This issue needs serious consideration of the concerned authorities and judicial system.
By: By: Aimon Malghani