The lesser known perils of child sexual abuse in Pakistan

2018-03-09T01:18:44+05:00 Amna Masood

Trampling of a bud prior to its bloom is what sums the sexual abuse of a child. It is an incident that leaves never-fading scorches on the bearings of the victim. What makes such incidents most horrifying is the fact that more than often the abuser is a person of trust and someone we meet frequently.

The recent cases of Zainab, Asma and several other minors brought to light a lot on the ill works of the notorious networks and linkages to online pornography rings. A lot has been said about how the perpetrators ought to be punished and measures that need to be taken to eliminate this evil from our society. Unfortunately, little is said and realized about the monsters that live in and around our homes with direct and unsupervised access to children of all ages. Paedophilism might be a new term for some but the reality is that the vile exists for some time.

Data taken from Cruel Numbers, compiled by Sahil over the last seven years revealed that seventy eight out of hundred times the abusers were acquaintances, five were immediate family members thereby involving incest and only seventeen were strangers. For every hundred assaults, eighty three times the abuser was a person of trust, known to the victim or his/her family.

Overall there has been an upward trend for the total number of reported cases for both boys and girls included from the data collected from 2010 to 2016. The highest percentage increase for girls was 22 from 2015 to 2016 while there was a percentage decrease of 7 noticed from 2014 to 2015. Boys only reported cased saw the highest percentage increase of 38 in 2014 as compared to 2013 while there was a decrease of 3 percent in 2016 as compared to the previous year.

The gender divide over the time has been decreasing from 7 girls to 3 boys in 2010 to 5.5 girls to 4.5 boys in 2016 and 6 girls to 4 boys in 2017.

The most vulnerable group is for girls aged between 11 and 15 which account for 24% of the cases reported over the last seven years. This is followed by the same age group for boys that comprised for 18.4% of the total reported cases. For every ten minors who are abused, four lie between the age brackets of eleven to fifteen years. The second most vulnerable age group is of six to ten years. Three out of ten abuses were from this age bracket.

Over the last year five out of ten cases were of rape/sodomy and two out of ten cases are of gang rape/sodomy and only one out of ten cases was of murder after sexual assault.

The top ten vulnerable districts according to the 2016 statistics of Cruel numbers are Muzzaffargarh, Sheikupura, Lahore, Pakpattan, Multan, Kasur, Faislabad, Vehari, Khanewal and Rawalpindi, constituting 1109 out of 4139 total reported cases.  All of the districts are from Punjab thereby making Central Punjab the most vulnerable region comprising of 18% of cases for child abuse.

In case of indoor places, four out of ten times the place of abuse has been an acquaintance’s place and four time the place is the victim’s place. Other top places of abuse according to the data are school, workplace, mosque, shop and haveli. Amongst the outdoor places, the top ten places of abuse are field, street, jungle, dera, market, deserted place and graveyard. The data again institutes a close relationship between the abuser and victim especially in the case of closes places. Eight of ten times the place of abuse is lived in by either the abuser or victim.

Mamtaz Gohar, Senior Program Office Media for Sahil mentioned that the past three years have seen an astonishing rise in the reported cases for incest and abuse by relatives. While the increase in trends is disturbing he further stated, ‘The Zainab case has created a lot of awareness for both parents and children in Pakistan’.

The writer is a tech entrepreneur specializing in data analysis.

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