Child abuse issue becoming serious social problem in Pakistan   2011-04-22 22:49:49 FeedbackPrintRSS

A child stands near the site where a fuel tanker was attacked and set ablaze in Jamrod, located in Pakistan's northwest Khyber Agency, November 6, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

By Jamil Bhatti

ISLAMABAD, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Living behind the bars for last 15 years, Tanveer Abbas (alias), 30, has been spending every painful day with a question nagging in his mind, "What is his fault that makes him to face life imprisonment?"

Sitting at the floor of a prisoners' cell in the central jail in Pakistan's historical city of Multan, Abbas narrated how he was abducted and raped by five notorious men turn-by-turn for more than a week before throwing him comatose in the outskirts of the city.

He was 9th class student in a secondary school in Vehari district in southern part of the Punjab province when he faced that unforgettable tragedy which spoiled his whole life.

"After they brought me in a house they took off my clothes and burnt them, they kept me all the time naked besides torturing," said Abbas. "The incident made my life painful, I had to leave my school because every body was hating and laughing at me."

Culprits were free. Instead of taking action on his complaints police blamed him that he did this himself intentionally for some money.

Abbas could not bear the social humiliation and finally bought a pistol and killed three of them before getting sentenced for 25 years imprisonment by the courts.

According to a report "Cruel Numbers" issued by Sahil, a non governmental organization (NGO) working exclusively on child sexual abuse and exploitation in Pakistan, in 2010 a total of 2, 252 children were sexually abused throughout the country.

The report tells a harsh reality that these figures are based on reported incidents so the actual number might be much larger as majority of people hesitate to report for their social face saving.

The Sahil, that monitors 66 newspapers daily across Pakistan to collect statistics, categorized the crime in three major categories showing that 48 percent cases were of rape/sodomy, 31 percent cases of gang-rape/sodomy and 19 percent cases of attempt of rape/sodomy.

Both sexes were assaulted as girls became victims with 73 percent and boys 27 percent, under most vulnerable age of 11-18 years for girls and 6-15 years for boys.

A total of 4,543 abusers were involved in abusing 2,252 children among whom more than half of the victims faced one time abuse and 21 percent were abused for more than a day. Almost 67 percent of the cases were reported from rural areas whereas 33 percent were reported from urban areas.

Sodomy is covered under the law of Pakistan Penal Code. "Our state considers sodomy a far more serious crime than vaginal penetration or any other sexual violence, definitely we shall have to deal evil with iron hand to eradicate it," said Muhammad Rafiq, a social worker against this crime.

Some religious scholars suggested sentence to death to stop this rising evil, which always was considered as unnatural and against humanity.

The courts performance has been remained satisfactory but people consider the worst role is of police, which has almost failed to control the crime and punish culprits due to their own interests.

Recently Punjab province police arranged sodomy of a young boy in custody by a criminal in jail. In another case in the east city of Lahore three police officers arrested a boy, beat and raped him in custody, and later distributed a video of the rape.

This terrible offense has invisible motives and reasons behind it but porn-addiction, sexual-frustration, use of drugs, psychological-illness, no fear of reprisal from the law and society are considered as common reasons.

Many victims of rape, sodomy, and incest were murdered by the rapists to conceal their crime and 80 percent of the survivals have fallen prey to different physical and psychological problems, like sleep disturbance, fatigue, headaches, respiratory infections, chest pains and so on.

The children who could not bear depressions become aggressive like "Abbas" and try to avenge the abuse.

Sahil recommended dire need of focus on child protection issues, inclusion of a course in primary education to encourage children for body safety, media responsibility, and providing adults and communities with information to recognize the warning signs of sexual abuse.

Abbas is not hopeful and does not see any charm in his future life as he would be 40 after spending major golden part of his life in prison. But he still urges the government, people and especially police to favor sodomized/raped people to give them justice so that they can live with some peace in their lives.

Editor: yan
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