By Ayesha Basit Butt.
Somebody [bawls] in the middle of the night, the neighbors hear but they switch off the light.
“She still remembered sitting for hours as a little girl and pretending to be a hassock. A foot stool. Because if she could just stay very small and very quiet, her mother would forget she was there, and then she wouldn’t scream about people and places and things that had gone wrong.”
No one in this world is more protective than a mother, but relying on someone is a risky task. There are many cases in Pakistan about child abuse. Awareness instructions are very common on social media TV programs and in the newspapers. Although it is not right to walk on eggs and make your child fearful, it is important to observe the actual risks and familiarize yourself with the signs and jargons of abuse. Child abuse is not of a single type rather it is of many types like physical, mental and emotional child abuse. Child abuse may also happen when parents rely on third person or the caretaker.
The main cause of child abuse is when you rely on your relatives and misapprehend your children when they try to tell you about the unusual situation happened to them. Non contact sexual abuse is very common everywhere in the world. Approximately 5.5 million children are reported each year. One study suggests that 1 out of 20 children has been physically abused in their life time.
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Parents need to be frank with their children so that they can share everything with them. It is not easy to recognize when a children has been abused. Children who have been brutalized are often afraid to tell anyone because they think they will be blamed or misapprehended or no one will believe them.
Sometimes they remain quiet because the person who abuses them is the one who is the most respectful for them and they cannot think over it, it is something which is not adequate.
The fight against child abuse is showing an increase in registration of cases. The total number of child abuse in 2013 is 3002 and the numbers of abused children are 8 per day. This figure also shows an increase of 7.67% from the year 2012.
Sexual abuse can occur anywhere at any time, therefore children are not safe. 77.70% of sexual assault took place within the enclosed area whereas 53.77% of the children were abused once. In 17.69% of the cases children were abused for more than a day.
2003 cases of abuse were reported from Punjab, 584 cases from Sindh, 139 by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 134 from federal capital Islamabad and 106 from Baluchistan. Even after a few years, the problem remains the same whereas the ratio is increasing rapidly. Parents should guide their child not to take help from an unknown person outside their home and not to trust anyone blindfolded. It will increase conscience and make you overprotective but protection should always be on top of the priority list.
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No one protects you as carefully as you can protect yourself from others. We can write and gossip about the crimes with a cup of tea and let the news go from where it belongs. We cannot resolve the issues. A girl from Sialkot Union Council Kotli lohara was raped by a gang and the gang had broken her teeth and threatened her parents not to tell anyone as they belonged to the “heavy political” party and they can do worse to them. People are doing this type of crimes on the name of politicians and their “Parties” and those parties dump the issues in the basket and save the criminals. The ratio of child abuse and murder is now on its peak. No one can rely or trust their relatives or others. Lahore saw the highest number of child abuse in 2016-17 and the highest numbers of child abuse cases were reported in 2017. In two years, 1,297 cases of child rape were reported in Punjab, out of these 66 cases were reported in Kasur.
In a nutshell, it affects the victim’s social behavior, physical and mental health. Women who experience familial abuse have reported higher current levels of depression and anxiety when thinking about the abuse. The fact is that sexual harassment is everywhere in the world and it is now the part of life. It is used to decrease women freedom and stop women. 2017 clears one thing that the sexual harassment and rape cases is everywhere in the world. Gender inequality is marked in Pakistan. In this modern world where people have only the tag of modernity and they don’t know what does actually it means. It is our responsibility to protect each other from this type of crimes because one day it may happen to us.
On individual level everyone should raise his/her voice against sexual abuse. Child abuse can be diminished by taking actions on an individual level, community and national level. They should be given awareness and causes and indications about sexual abuse so they may get enabled to help the victim.
Children should be taught self-protection skills and awareness to never allow any person to touch them. Similarly there should be institutions and NGOs that must legally fight against child abuse. Likewise government should make such laws and policies so that immediate action should be taken against criminals who are committing crimes on the name of parties as these people cannot make or maintain the party but ruin their status. To protect the women is to protect the home and to protect the home is to protect the society. By protecting society we can save our country.
Ayesha Basit Butt is associated with Department English Language and Linguistics, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore. She can be reached at Kh.firstname.lastname@example.org