Child Sexual Abuse and sexual exploitation are generally obliterated or at least openly abnegated phenomena in Pakistan. Regrettably, these cases rarely elevate in light because most of the time perpetrators are acquaintances, neighbors or relatives of the children. The number of child abuse cases have been rapidly augmenting in Pakistan due to absence of proper hindrance and cautionary standards adopted by the government, as well as the parents, Sahil, a non-government organization (NGO) working for children rights, states in there 2010 report.
In 2009, a total of 2012 reported cases of child sexual abuse were recorded from all over Pakistan, which was 9.4 per cent increase in comparison to 2008. According to the report of the NGO, the number of children who are sexually abused in Pakistan has registered an alarming increase this year. 1216 children were victimized in the first six months of this year. According to Sahil’s report, the facts and figures have been collected from news published in 65 different newspapers of the country. The report said, “We believe that the number of incidents presented in the print media do not represent the total numbers of such incidents in Pakistan-because such issues are taboo and not easily reported.” The topper province is Punjab which has the highest number of child sexual abuse cases, standing at 62 %, Sindh recorded 28 % cases, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa – 1.5 %, Baluchistan – 1% and Azad Kashmir stood at 0.5 %. Out of 1,216 cases reported in six months, 331 boys, where as 885 girls had been sexually abused. The highest number of cases recorded in the category of abduction for sexual purposes for girls, whereas the boys had been mainly abused for sodomy, followed by gang sodomy, abduction for sexual purposes, and attempt of sodomy, among other similar cases. According to the statistics, a total of 2,425 abusers have sexually assaulted 1,216 children. As per the report, the most vulnerable age group of children is of 11-15 years, in which almost 25.5 per cent cases took place, followed by 6-10 years, with 16.5 per cent cases. Tragically, the report revealed that 81 % of ‘abusers’ were people known to the victim or their family, whereas the rest of 19 % were strangers. The main reason why this issue is so convoluted to cope with and makes it even more difficult to eliminate. Sexual abuse of children is cloaked in silence and is often pushed into the deep and dark corners of our homes and minds, left unattended and untreated.
Whenever I hear about this issue it makes me cringe. I refuse to call those human who are involved in this crime. Their lust and ignorance has made them animals rather beasts. It is so surprising that their own children are also a part of this society and they can be a pray to a beast like them. Besides the state of mind that exists in our society is a very bitter truth and a big shame for us being Muslims.
Child sexual abuse is a matter of grave concern for the society. It is a global phenomenon and the developed nations had adopted strict measures to protect their children from such incidents. But ingloriously, our government is not interested in taking any serious action in this matter. Unfortunately, there is no ministry of Children in Pakistan. The government should run awareness programs throughout the country especially in rural areas where the cases are more, as part of school curriculum. This will help in many ways. At least an effort could be made and it is not something to be shown any reservation. We need to educate and encourage responsible members of the community to report cases of abuse/neglect and for the authorities to act on this information…we all have a responsibility here…