3-year Faryal, abducted, raped and when the animal had satisfied his lust, he left her vulnerable naked body to die in cold in Abbottabad. Nine-year-old, raped and murdered, found lying in the unforgiving weather of Nowshera. How many children, how many small coffins will it take to wake us up? How many young lives will be wasted merely for a few moments of ‘pleasure’ before we realise we need to do something about it?
Pakistan has seen the worst of it. Behind the closed doors of Madrassas or hiding at the back of standing buses of Pirwadhai bus stop, within the premises of our own homes among the security of our own blood relationships or in our schools, during interactions with the second parents, or should we say, the teachers – we have completely failed in securing our little flowers. We failed in protecting them against the thieves, robbers of their innocence.
According to statistics shared by Sahil, more than 17,862 cases of child abuse have been reported in Pakistan over the course of 5 years. Bone-chilling, isn’t it? The figures only speak for the ‘reported’ cases, while we must consider the fact that in conservative societies, many incidents go unreported due to stigma and taboo attached to the topic. As per a report presented in the National Assembly earlier this year, total 10,620 cases of abuse of girls and 7,242 cases of abuse of boys were reported during 2013-2017.
A few months ago, we talked about the ‘pleasure boys’ of Pirwadhai. Rawalpindi’s infamous bus stand is known for its busy days, but when the night falls, the atmosphere changes. There is still a lot of hassle due to the leaving and arriving passengers, but when the truck drivers need ‘rest’, a pleasure boy has to be there to entertain him. These young boys are usually the poor souls who left their hometowns in search of better livelihood but got stuck in this vicious and brutal circle of exploitation. Even the international media has spoken on it, but the authorities of the twin cities stand deaf and dumb, watching it all happen.
This is just one example of how we maintained our insensitivity to the issue. Be it Kasur child abuse scandal or Zainab case, our outcry lasted for a few days and then we forgot. Reality is we have failed to devise any mechanism to protect further tragedies to happen. No awareness campaigns to talk about the issue, no seminars to tell people that incest EXISTS, no changes in school curriculums to aware children about it and no efforts made by religious influencers in this regard either. Few unconventional TV serials were made covering the topic, however, still, the majority of our morning shows’ content remains centred on skin whitening and getting a thinner waist. All goes on, while we bury another angel under piles of soil.
It is high time we accept that practically, we have failed to do anything. We need serious measures to address the issue. We need to talk about it, and this time, before another tragedy happens.
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