Meher Azeem Hakro
The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats children Nelson Mandela Child abuse is a behavior that harms a child. It can take many forms, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as neglect and exploitation. According to Sahil’s recent annual report Cruel Numbers an Islamabad-based NGO working to protectchildren has reported that six children are sexually abused daily in Pakistan. The NGO reported that most of the cases are in Punjab – 57%. The remaining 32% were reported in Sindh and 6% in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It added that 35 cases were reported in Islamabad, 22 in Balochistan, 10 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and more than one in Gilgit-Baltistan. Of the total reported cases, 62% are from rural areas and 38% from urban areas. Age-wise data shows that children between the ages of 6 to 15 are victims of abuse. The study further states that children between the ages of 0-5 years are also sexually exploited. These figures sound alarming as they expose the government failure to protect children. In Sahil’s annual report for 2019 revealed that a total of 2,846 cases of child sexual abuse appeared in the newspapers throughout the year, indicating a 26% decrease compared to 2018. On average, eight children were abused in Pakistan every day. The most vulnerable were boys victimized than girls. A total of 3,722 abusers were identified in 2019, out of which 2,222 were acquainted with the victims. The number of child abuses in the country is increasing day by day. We read every day incidents in newspapers and then ignore them. In fact, the oppressor is not the one who oppresses, but the oppressor is the one who suffers oppression. Children living in urban and rural areas, schools and seminaries, hotels and workshops are also reported to be abused and raped, but our law and society appear to be silent spectators. The teaching profession is a highly respected profession. In countries such as Europe and the United States, the teacher dignity is valued and even prime ministers stand in his honor. In our society some teachers are blackmailing and abusing their students instead of educating them. At the moment, our entire society is morally and religiously destroyed. We have forgotten our dignity, our morals and our religious teachings. We cannot even send our child to the store alone because some shopkeepers even target innocent children when they find a lonely child. Every day children are being abused, such as a retired teacher from Sindh who embarrassed all teachers and humanity. A video went viral on social media in which he could be seen abusing an innocent 9-year-old boy who came to him for tuition. Sarang Shar, a retired teacher, is said to have attracted numerous of innocent students and made videos of them and sold them on international webinars. The reality of the rest of the stories is different, but his current crime is enough to punish him severely. In order to deal with this horror that is engulfing our society, it is necessary to take action at the grassroots level. Protection services and the criminal system need to be improved as well as reformed. In order to provide a safe environment for children in Pakistani society, the police, teachers, doctors, NGOs and those dealing with this issue should be given proper and appropriate training. It is also the parents responsibility to teach their children how to set and enforce their personal space, and to instruct to seek help if they feel they are being harassed. The child should be told about the meaning of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Moreover, the child should be known about private body parts. Ensuring the safety of children is not only the duty of parents but schools should also actively educate children about the issue. In this regard, schools should arrange workshops to teach both teachers and parents about child sexual abuse.