Child Abuse is, unfortunately, a common occurrence in Pakistan. Child abuse cases are constantly increasing and it is a great shame for us that we as a nation, have miserably failed to protect our children from unpleasant incidents.
A Non-Profit Organization, SAHIL, released a shocking report in September 2018 which stated that almost 3832 cases of sexual abuse were reported in 2018. The report further stated that 55 percent of girls and 44 percent of boys were the victims.
The report showed that 63 percent of cases were reported in Punjab, 34 percent from Azad Kashmir, 27 percent from Sindh, 4 percent from KP, 2 percent from Balochistan, 3 percent from Islamabad and six cases from Gilgit-Baltistan.
This grave situation suggests that pedophilia is increasing at an exponential rate in our society.
Past Cases of Child Abuse
Madiha from Hangu: Madiha, an 8-year-old girl, was allegedly raped and murdered in Saro Khel village, Hangu district on February 16. Police reported that the girl was brutally raped and tortured, adding that a bullet wound was also visible. The family of Madiha said that the girl had gone to a nearby shop but didn’t return. Her family and other residents of the area started looking for her but were failed and then contacted Police. The family said that they don’t have any personal enemies.
Zainab from Kasur: Zainab Ansari’s body was found from a heap of trash near Shabaz Khan road in Kasur on January 4, 2018. Police claimed that the girl seemed to have been killed four or five days earlier. Post-mortem report suggested that the girl was raped and murdered. The incident took place when Zainab’s parents had gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah and Zainab was living with her uncle. Police arrested Imran Ali in Zainab case and on October 17, 2018, Imran Ali was hanged at Kot Lakhpat Jail.
In short, no province in Pakistan is safe from brutal child abuse.
Myths of Child Abuse
Some myths that circulate in Pakistani society are:
Only girls become victims of Child Abuse: Different Reports have revealed that not only girls, boys are also sexually abused. However, boys usually hesitate to report sexual abuse. As above mention, report in 2018 suggested that 44 percent of boys were abused out of total number of cases.
Strangers are the main perpetrators: Research has showed that 47 percent of the perpetrators are relatives whereas 43 percent are linked with family and only 7 percent are strangers.
Child Abuse usually occur in poor families: Child Abuse has crossed all the socioeconomic barriers as researches have confirmed that 15-20 percent of girls and boys are from all socioeconomic groups.
Pakistan’s government on Child Abuse
The National Assembly of Pakistan has passed a resolution seeking Public hanging of offenders who are convicted for sexual abuse of children. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and PTI leader presented the resolution where a majority of lawmakers passed it.
A debate was started whether public hangings are the answer to child abuse.
Opposition and other federal ministers opposed the presented bill and stated that it is against the laws. Federal Minister includes Fawad Chaudhry and Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari.
Steps to Prevent Child Abuse
Child Abuse is a serious problem that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. Steps should be taken to prevent children from sexual abuse.
Parents do not pay much attention to children and send them easily with any stranger. Parents should enhance their parenting skills to promote healthy child development.
The families should consider quality care and should start education of their children early in life. Government of the state should take serious measures to stop these brutal incidents.
Unless the judiciary system does not do its job properly, the problem will remain same.