“No beta this program is not for you.”

“This does not happen in real life, all relations are very scared.”

“It’s a matter of respect of the family.”

“Kids should not be told about sex at such an early age.”

“Ye hamare ghar ka banda hai. Iss pe yakeen kar sakte hain bachon ke sath.” (He is from our family. We can trust him with the kids.)

These are the common lines you hear from people, when child abuse is discussed. People are either not bothered or they have accepted this issue as a day to day routine. Even today in Pakistan it is taboo to talk about this issue.

I, for one, dread opening newspapers or the e-papers every day now because I can’t read ‘minor girl strangled to death after being raped’ or a ‘young boy died after gang rape’ anymore. Since the past 2 months there has been an alarming increase in child abuse cases in Pakistan. Both genders are being victimized. But in all this time I have hardly read any news where the culprits have been arrested. I have not heard people complain either. It’s not even part of our drawing room discussions. Why?

On the other hand, there is a lot of talk about a Pakistani play, Udaari, based on child abuse. In some ranks of the society Momina Duraid is being applauded, while the other quarters want its telecast to be stopped as claimed by PEMRA, the regulatory body. Those who realize the seriousness of the issue are openly penning down their thoughts over the issue; however the interesting part is that those who have raised hue and cry over its appropriateness are nowhere to be found on other more critical issues.

It’s really amazing how people who are against hard core issues of life and society, are not against those dramas where women are slapped, tortured, shown as a weakling, or a vamp – where she can only be a ‘home breaker’. While the same dramas show men having extra marital affairs, divorcing their wives, earning money through illegitimate means or as totally spineless. Our kids can watch bomb blasts, terrorist attacks, dead bodies, weapons, target killing; play such crazy apps or video games where they are allowed to kill anyone; watch action packed movies and cartoons but Udaari will snatch their innocence away.

Let’s not forget when almost everyone was drooling over ‘Sultan’ the magnificent. Even the kids knew Huram and Sultan’s affair. He, by the way, was a sick pervert who could not stick to one woman and we proudly boasted that this is our ‘Islamic history.’ None of us complained at that time, so what happened all of a sudden with Udaari?

Were you shown a mirror?  Did the animal in you start kicking to stop this drama or you won’t ever be able to molest kids, or face yourself in the mirror?

Our problem has always been that we don’t want to learn. We find rote learning (ratta) instead of using our minds. Due to this, anything out of those boundaries becomes a conspiracy theory or a taboo.

The drama Udaari touches one of the most sensitive nerves of society. In this a mother stands up for her daughter when she complains of being molested, rather than blaming her or trying to save the man. Even Amir Khan, the Indian actor, did a wonderful show on educating kids, why can’t we do something like that in our schools?

When studying abroad I remember being given a letter in Class 8 which had to be signed by my parents to give their acceptance for me to attend classes on physical education, which included sex and self-protection. I found it odd and had the jitters when I went to class, but I learnt a lot. When sex education was being introduced in Pakistani private schools, there was uproar! Why?

We hardly hear parents complain when schools hold events which are not part of our culture, or when they have to dole out money to keep their kids in the ‘posh schools.’

Is their status more important than the life of their kids?

Does anyone realize the seriousness of this act? How it destroys the personality of the child?

When kids go through this trauma they can never ever get back to a normal life. They are too young to realize what had happened to them. It’s easy for others and elders to say the kid should have told them or some elder at that time. ‘Nothing can be done now, move on, forget it’.

But a child is too young to fight someone who should be protecting him or imparting worldly or religious knowledge. These perpetrators are too cunning for an innocent mind to understand. They know how to play with their purity and make them feel dirty for all times to come.

A friend of mine once told me that her uncle had raped her and then had the guts to tell her in Makkah:

“Now no one will marry you now. You are used.”

I could never convince her that he was lying and that she will find the best life partner. That insecurity and shame still lives in her mind.

Another friend told me how her brother forced her into having sex with him and his cousin. When my friend told her sister about it, she replied:

“They are men. We can’t do anything about it.”

But every time she comes in front of her own brother, she feels like killing herself.

Another friend who experienced child abuse recalls in school days when he went to school in a tonga and how the tonge wala took advantage of his innocence. The incident made him shut people out of his life as he became stone hearted.

These are not just stories, these are destroyed lives!

Lives that could have been saved. Lives that could have enjoyed their childhood with toys rather than setting their dresses straight after being played with.

It’s time we stopped living in a state of denial. Save the coming generations before it’s too late.