The anti-terrorism court (ATC) awarding death sentence to Imran Ali, the serial killer of Kasur, is justice being served. The general mood of people is jubilant over the verdict of the said court. However, the joy over the judgment should not cloud the widespread issue of child abuse that is prevalent in over society. Right after the news of the brutal murder of seven-years-old Zainab was reported, many more incidents of such nature were reported in the media.

While informing the National Assembly (NA), only a few days back, the Ministry of Human Rights maintained that since 2013 more than seventeen thousand cases of children have been reported. What explains such an exponential increase in cases of child abuse? Many factors taken together can answer the question of such a tall figure.

First, in many cases where children report any such abuse their families choose to suppress the matter for fear of inviting hostility and shame from the offender. It is this attitude on the part of parents, which contributes to the ever-increasing cases of child abuse. Until the parents overcome these misplaced fears, their children are potential victims of sexual abuse.

Second, in many families parent tend to not discuss the topic of sexual abuse with their kids, as they consider it a taboo. According to one report in a majority of such cases, children are abused either by their relatives or those who visit them regularly. Visitors include servants, relatives, teachers or tutors. Until and unless parents guide the children on how to protect themselves from sexual predators, the young ones will remain exposed to abuse by sexual predators.

While it is direly needed to educate our young ones on defending themselves against such offenders, it is not only the duty of parents. The state also has to play its role in protecting the children. The society is also burdened with the responsibility of not letting its children abused. While the state can fulfill its function through schools by making children aware of the criminals around them, the community also needs to conduct awareness campaigns on the subject among the young ones.

With the collective efforts of parents, families, society, and state it is possible to see a community where children will roam free without fear of being abused in the long run.