Once a teacher of mine asked, what is the thing that draws a line between animals and human beings? Why are the human beings deemed as superior creations of God? Most students of my class, emphasized on the rational thinking and the trait to make difference between right and wrong. The answer of my teacher was intriguing as he stressed on the “the quality to desist from wicked acts”. In simple words, it can be described as “self-control”. The significance of this act of intrepidity can be gauged by Holy Prophet (SAW)’s words, in which this glorious deed is termed as “Jihad-e-Akbar” or “greatest struggle”. Sometimes, the lust overwhelms the morality and then the lines between animals and human beings gets blur. In this situation, other issues of moral corruption become rife.  As a Cultural Psychoanalyst Ahmad Raza bearing in mind the instructions of Quran, mentioned in his article 'Why nations fall' that “Moral corruption leads to the downfall of a nation”.

One of the most abhorrent acts akin to moral corruption is molestation that is getting momentum in our society. Injustice, manhandling of minorities, corruption, embezzlement, dishonesty and religious bigotry are already the orders of the day but now the nefarious act of sodomy, molestation and child abuse is further extending the chain of ingrained moral maladies. Children are on the target of predators and parents distraught. In 2015, in a village of Kasur an unfathomable and embarrassing reality revealed, when 280 children fell victim of molestation that left each and every parent flabbergasted and children more vulnerable to this vicious act. After that the case of Zainab left a sense of extreme anger in the society, each and every person wanted the government to send the culprit to the gallows. The story doesn’t end here.

According to Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) ‘SAHIL’ works for the human rights and protection of children has revealed a stark reality, “The 3,832 cases are reported akin to child abuse in Pakistan in 2018, an astounding rise of 11 percent is noticed in the reported case in comparison with 3,445 cases in 2017. 63 percent cases were reported in Punjab followed by 34 percent from Azad Kashmir, 27 percent from Sindh, 4 percent from KP, 2 percent from Balochistan, 3 percent from Islamabad and six cases from Gilgit-Baltistan." In these above mentioned number of cases, 55 percent victims were girls and 45 percent were boys. Most mind-boggling thing is that, Punjab is at top in this immoral practice, despite of the fact it is cited as more progressive and developed than other provinces.

The thing that is noteworthy here is these are only those cases which were reported. The statistics about the unreported cases and number of culprits who went scot-free is another saga. Many parents don’t report cases as, these ilk of cases pave the way of embarrassment socially. On the same day, when this report came to fore, another case was reported, according to that a 12-year-old Ali Hassan was found dead and his body was burnt by the kidnappers. His mother maintained, "He went to his neighbors to collect money and didn’t return home." The case may not have been sexual in nature but unveiled a stark threat to the children. Just last month, while going to coaching centre in Rawalpindi, a 14-year-old child was shot dead as he resisted to foiling the sexual bid. Recently, a boy attempted suicide, after being sexually assaulted by two adults. His ordeal was filmed and the inappropriate images of the boy were used as a stick to beat him with. He could not put up with the sordid tactics of blackmailing and found suicide as a suitable solution.

Laws already exist to grapple with this grievous imbroglio and amendments are also inserted to make the laws more effective. Such as, In April 2017, Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) was amended through Criminal Law Second Amendment Act 2016 to deal with the scourge of child abuse. The section 82 of PPC was amended and the age of child was increased from 7 to 10 years. The sections 292-A, 292-B and 292-C are newly inserted in the PPC. 292-A is related to the “Exposure of seduction” it explicitly maintains that whoever seduces any child through any material, video, film or document should be punished with imprisonment for minimum one year and maximum seven years or hefty fine of one hundred thousand rupees to five hundred thousand rupees can be charged.

The section 292-B deals with “Child Pornography” it maintains, “Whoever takes, permits to be taken, with or without consent of his parents or guardian, any photograph, film, video, picture or representation, portrait, or computer-generated image or picture or produced by electronic, mechanical, other means of obscene or explicit conduct, where:

A) The production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor boy or girl engaging in obscene or sexually explicit conduct.

B) Such visual depiction is a digital image, computer image or computer generated image that is or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in obscene or sexually explicit conduct.

C) Such visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that identifiable minor is engaging in obscene or sexually explicit conduct; is said to have committed an offence of child pornography."

This section illustrated the boundaries of pornography.

The section 292-C indicates towards the punishment of pornography, imprisonment for two years or up to seven years or fine two hundred thousand rupees to seven hundred thousand rupees or more.

Penetration of this wicked act in our society is not only posing a serious threat to the children but this act of moral corruption can also nudge the country on the verge of destruction.

Firstly, Laws to cope with this pathetic situation must be implemented and police should cooperate with the people to trace the predator. Culprits should not enjoy impunity and they must be brought to book.

Secondly, a comprehensive campaign by the media to sensitize the parents is the need of the hour. Children should be guided by teachers and parents to avert these monstrous bids by the predators.

Thirdly, the propensity and taboo of being mum to shun the embarrassment is further exacerbating the situation and providing the culprits refuge, solace and protection.

In many cases, the perpetrators of sexual abuse and violence are acquainted with the victim or his/her family members, in this situation child doesn’t try to expose him and it provides the familiar person a breathing space. So, it is the duty of parents to keep a generous and friendly relation with their children and to persuade them not to conceal any information about sexual assault related acts because silence is the bone of contention and this culture of silence must be stopped otherwise this issue will be spiraled out of control.