Another child abuse


No words suffice for regret or condemnation. Every other day, we cry a river about yet another child falling prey to the demonic instincts of those lurking around them. On Thursday, a madressah teacher was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor at a ball’s throw from the main mosque in Okara.
Earlier in the week, the father of a mentally challenged girl stepped forward to seek justice for the unbelievable ordeal of someone who could not even fully acknowledge what had happened to her. Southwards in Dadu, two orphan girls, having run out of patience with the local police, have staged a protest in the press club, demanding the state to do its constitutionally mandated duty.
Each of these cases screams for attention, but to our greatest misfortune, they just form the tip of the bloodied iceberg. Pakistan has yet to come up with a roadmap to deal with a critical issue that threatens the very fabric of its society – the security of its children. Despite numerous efforts and initiatives taken by the government and various organisations, we keep failing our children day in and day out when we stand as silent spectators, while millions continue to suffer in silence.
Even remote estimates suggest that well over four thousand children had suffered sexual abuse last year, averaging 11 every day, with those as young as five years old forced to bear the aftereffects of an unforgettable ordeal for the rest of their lives. There’s no denying the shocking statistics that slate Pakistan among the countries with the highest rates of child abuse and exploitation in the world. The fact that either religious pressures or the fear of societal stigmatisation are used to perpetuate a bizarre culture of impunity, which allows the perpetrators to roam freely, hunting for more targets, is a dismal commentary on the enforcement of existing legislation.
It is primarily because of a lack of coordination between the government agencies and the rampant corruption that even those who dare to knock on the door of justice are handed nothing but disappointment and a good splash of character assassination.
If we truly wish to not suffer from this situation again, we need to adopt a multi-faceted approach, including robust legislation, vigilant law enforcement, widespread awareness, and community mobilisation. The time for complacency is long gone.