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Increasing cases of child abuse demand actions from society.

By: Mahrukh Tariq - Legislative Intern SSDO

Child abuse is a growing concern around the world. No matter how developed or poor a country is, child abuse exists in every country in different forms. Child abuse includes physical as well as mental assault on a child. Domestic violence is also a kind of child abuses, it is when a parent or caretaker abuses a kid in the household. Other people, such as daycare workers, teachers, and coaches, may abuse children. Abuse can be deliberate, although it isn't always the case. This can lead to dysfunctional behavior and abuse if the parents or caregivers are no longer able to deal with caring for the child. It is a sad fact that child abuse is very common in Pakistani.

Government officials and those in power have failed to address this issue so far or, even if they do, it is too late, and the cycle continues. Zainab's case in Kasur, and the Kasur child abuse scandal are only two examples of the cancer afflicting our country.

Child abuse is one of the major problems that the society faces. The recent data shows that on an average 8 children are being abused in Pakistan in which 51% are girls and 49% are boys. Not just in small unknown areas, it is a sin committed in well-known establishments, as well. The number of pedophiles just seems to be increasing because not every child is capable of raising his/her voice. They are made to think that whatever is happening may just be normal or if they raise their voice there will be no one to listen and provide solutions. The victims are not only females but males as well. They struggle to make people believe their truths as Barkat Ali Ansari said, “Both, female and male victims can struggle to be believed by others but the taboo surrounding male child victims may be even higher. Regardless of gender, the harmful effects of sexual violence are the same for males and females: guilt, self-blame, anger, fear, confusion, distrust, difficulty at school and work, difficulty forming and maintaining trusting relationships, increased risk of substance misuse and self-harm.”

Age of children being abused falls mostly between 6-15 years old. However, sexual abuse has also been committed to even younger children. In this regard, a case of a 4-year-old girl’s abduction and murder was registered in which the family of the child claimed that their girl had been sexually assaulted before murder. On further investigation it was observed that 182 such cases had occurred in only the first 8 months of the year 2020. A theory suggests that may be the abuse cases of children are increasing because there are very little chances that someone will believe a child of his/her claims of abuse. Even religious organizations have been found to be insecure for children as many cases of children being abused by clerics and religious leaders have come to light in recent years. "I have come across a number of cases where young children were sexually assaulted by clerics," Dr. Naila Aziz, a Lahore-based clinical psychologist, told DW. One such case involves, ‘Sabir Shah, a student at the madrasa, told DW that Mufti Aziz ur Rehman sexually abused him for over a year.’

The biggest reason of child abuse in Pakistan could be the feudal mindset, weak government, poverty and lack of administration. Because of Pakistan's weak economic and political state, child abuse has increased over the years. It's no secret that child abuse is a result of poverty and poor living conditions, among other things. Many Pakistanis live in grimy slums where they are forced to work for their families' survival. It all comes down to the fact that there are trusts issues between children and their guardians. The elderly should pay closer attention to what children want to tell them and build a bond of mutual trust where the child can freely tell their guardians about what is bothering them. Girls as well as boys should be given sex education so they may be more aware of themselves as well as their surroundings. They may be able to differentiate between sexual assault and affectionate gestures. The schools as well as madrassas should be subjected to regular investigation. The children in these organizations should be asked if they are comfortable in their environment or not.

Pakistan has various organizations and agencies working with the primary purpose of reducing child abuse, one such initiatives is taken by SSDO, which track record of the child abuse cases in various cities of Pakistan.

According to director of SSDO, Syed Kauser Abbas this record is kept for the purpose of evaluating performance of law enforcements. The increasing cases of child abuse demands us to implement and practice laws that allow every child of Pakistan to live a secure and life, and enjoy every single right. It is the duty of every individual of society to participate wholly to eradicate the transgression.

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