As citizens of the holy Islamic Republic of Pakistan, rape is not something we should consider as something that happens every day, right? It shouldn’t even be a part of our rich lexicon of Urdu, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi, Seraiki, Persian, English, Punjabi and many more, because how could such an unjustifiable crime, something that can never be defended irrespective of whatever circumstances are presented be happening at such an alarming rate? Was this rape culture always present, or is it only coming to light just now?
Child molestation and sexual abuse are nothing new to the people of Pakistan. Sahil, an NGO working in the sector reported 3,445 children who were sexually abused in 2017, alone.
The number of cases that were reported from the provinces was as follows:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 78
Gilgit Baltistan: 3
Azad Jammu and Kashmir: 12
From January to June 2018, Sahil reported another 2,322 child sexual abuse cases. The crimes were as follows:
Gang Rape: 158
Gang Sodomy: 180
Attempted sexual abuse: 206
If these numbers are not alarming for both the citizens and government, we’re not sure what can be done to prevent these heinous deeds. Previously, a massive sex offending ring was also found in Kasur, a district near Lahore, which functioned to make videos of children being sexually assaulted and extorting money from their families with the threat of posting them on the dark web. Although most families handed the money in without any resistance, the videos still ended up becoming a part of the horrors of the dark web.
A man who was convicted for the rape and murder of a seven year old child in Kasur, Zainab, was also convicted for the rape and murder of nine other children, and who knew the uses of the dark web, leading people to believe that this may not have been an isolated incident.
While there have been several other cases that have been highlighted by the media, the most recent one is of Faryal, a three year old girl child, who was raped and murdered in Kayala village of the Havelian district, which has people shook to their cores.
How is it, that there are nothing but drastic surges in child sexual abuse cases, yet there is barely any acknowledgement from the campaigning political parties who only seem to care about their own positions of power, rather than the innocent, suffering children who did now harm. This was significantly highlighted when the Kasur sex offending ring scandal was brought to light, but was mostly hushed up due to the alleged involvement of political leaders, according to leading news sources.
There are no constitutional reforms made or implemented that aid the victims of child abuse and their families, and none that seek to punish sex offenders, be they children or adults.
In fact, Pakistan has a history of blaming the victims instead of the perpetrators, as seen by the famous ordinances imposed during the regime of General Zia Ul Haq, a famous military dictator who seized the country’s control.Instead of rapists being arrested, victims of rape were charged for Zina, or adultery, and thrown in jail.
Rather, the government and the Chief Justice in particular has made it their job to focus on collecting donations for unrealistic projects, and barely pay any attention to the hundreds of cases piled up, as well as questionable, or absent legislation.
Furthermore, Pakistan does not accept DNA evidence in court that proves rape, but conforms to the out dated, ridiculous, and disgusting practice of the two finger test, wherein two fingers are inserted into a woman’s vagina, to see if she is “loose” or “tight.”
Moreover, the police have a history of subjecting victims to mental torture and humiliation, rather than catching the perpetrators, almost all of whom are never apprehend, let alone convicted of misconduct.
We demand that the government bring serious reforms, and enforce sex education to create both awareness, and allow the prevention and punishment of such crimes.