Over 3,500 cases of child molestation were reported in 2014 of which 67 per cent were from rural areas
ISLAMABAD: Child molestation is a serious issue in Pakistan. It may not carry the label of ‘bacha bazi’ as in Afghanistan, but it has become a serious problem against which actions must be taken. Sahil, Pakistan’s leading group working against child abuse, says over 3,500 cases of child molestation were reported in 2014 of which 67 per cent were from rural areas, but very few were reported because victims and their families are shy to disclose sexual offences, mainly due to cultural and social barriers.
The Sahil report said that issues related to sex are taboo subjects in Pakistan and the unwillingness to discuss these topics is making it easier for sexual abuse to occur. The Kasur incident reveals the ugly truth. The scale of the abuse in this case was horrific — 400 videos of 280 children who were forced to have sex while being filmed.
Children are usually molested by someone known to the family — a relative, neighbour or house help. Start communicating with your children in a friendly manner. Listen, believe and trust whatever they tell you. Notice their behaviour, keep an eye on their company and do not blindly rely on other people to look after them. Deal with their unexplained fears and try to change our collective mindset of not discussing such grave issues. Action must be taken immediately. There must no longer be silence on child abuse.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2015.
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