Child abuse in seminary


The idea that at least 12 (by conservative estimate) children suffer from sexual abuse in Pakistan every single day is a staggering reminder of how badly we have failed our children. No qualms about the actual number being significantly higher, thanks to the repressive influence held by a society that shamelessly insists on making the victim pay for their heart-wrenching tragedies.
It does appear, however, that more and more parents, having had enough of picking up the broken pieces of their young ones in deafening silence, now insist on ensuring the wrath of the law on those who dared let their disgusting demons subject vulnerable children to unimaginable horrors.
A seminary teacher was arrested by police in Muzaffargarh for allegedly raping two minor students for several months and threatening them with undue consequence in the wake of a complaint registered by their guardian. The details of the case are nothing short of chilling; necessitating prompt action from the authorities. Justice must be not only served but also seen to be served. Law enforcement personnel should investigate the matter thoroughly so that the prosecution can ensure that the accused is held accountable for his actions. More importantly, but often ignored, victims should also be provided with the necessary support to help them heal from the trauma they have endured.
However, it would be an utter delusion to disregard this as an isolated event. Our religious leaders are quick to point out how the crime committed by one individual should not be used to tarnish the reputation of an extremely honourable seat of learning. There’s no denying the respect of the madressahs, which, at one point, carried the light of scientific and technological advances. But can the same leaders deny how a seminary head was arrested in Lower Dir just last month because of his involvement in the assault and murder of a seven-year-old?
Have we forgotten how a seminary teacher and his wife were found responsible for repeated attempts to rape a minor girl in Faisalabad? With one young boy thrown off the roof after getting raped, another threatened to record himself being abused, and countless others still suffering in silence, are we in a position to talk defensively? The fact that these crimes take place within the confines of a place of learning and spiritual guidance is deeply disturbing and only serves to highlight the urgent need for strict measures to protect our children from such predators. We cannot ignore the big, hairy monster in the room any longer.