Data has revealed that 2,211 children were sexually abused in Pakistan in 2022 from January to June. This horrifying number comes to approximately 12 children who are abused each day according to Sahil, an NGO that works against child sexual abuse. At least 1,207 girls and 1,004 boys were reported to be victims of sexual abuse according to the report.
Earlier this week, a 10-year-old boy was allegedly raped by the Imam of a mosque in Lahore. As per media reports, the child had gone to offer Fajr prayers in the mosque where the accused, Abbas, took him to the basement and allegedly raped him. Then there was a case where a 16-year-old girl, a grade 9 student, was working as a translator for a Chinese national on a monthly pay of Rs15,000 since May 2021. She was raped by a man for months, who threatened her with dire consequences if she resisted.
Statistics reveal how bad and ugly it is but what is being done? Answer: nothing. These are just the official numbers or cases that have been reported. There is a growing concern that most cases of rape, sexual abuse, and other such forms of violent abuse against children and young girls are not reported due to societal taboos. Despite laws in place that address these issues, not many victims have found justice. And the way our society reacts to such crimes, by blaming the survivors makes it all the more difficult for people to come forward and report these crimes. With each passing day, a child is raped, a minor girl somewhere in Pakistan is forced to get married, and somewhere someone gets abducted. The silence of the state on matters that need the most attention is rather appalling. For how long will people keep suffering? What are our policymakers doing to make the lives of people in Pakistan better? With all the abuse, harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, and rapes being reported, where are we headed as a society? Has humanity died completely? Imagine the pain of the children and the families who have been victims and survivors of these horrific crimes. This needs to stop and the state needs to wake up from its slumber.
For our part, The Current has been following up on rape cases for almost two years since the Motorway rape incident which happened in October 2020. As of yet, a total of 1584 cases have been recorded from what we found in news outlets. The number is likely way more than this since these are only the ones we found in the news.
The state also needs to raise more awareness about such crimes. We need to teach our children from a very young age about these sensitive issues. We cannot hide away from these crimes that take place on a regular basis just because our society casts aspersions. If there is justice for the survivors, then more people will find the courage to report these crimes. We cannot let our children down.