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My name is Wadan Zeb Khattak. I’m 16, and I was born and raised in Kohat, Pakistan.
Dear readers, respected authorities and government officials, I want to draw your attention towards a the darker part of our society, Child Abuse.
My heart bleeds and shiver goes down my spine, thinking of the story of a 15 year-old girl who had been a victim of brutal sexual abuse. I will not name her since her parents did not want to face cameras. They belong to a poor family, and were worried of the image they would present.
Earlier this month, three men assaulted this girl, on her way back home from school. She was forcefully taken to a room, and was sexually abused repeatedly by all three of them. She cried and shouted for help but there was no one near who could hear her. After abusing her, they threw her a mile away from where they picked her.
Her father was reported to have said, “When I found her, she had bruises all over her body and tears were pouring down her eyes. She also tried to commit suicide a couple of times, but did not succeed.“
Let me remind you all of the inhuman act that also took place in the month of August, back in 2015. In the Kasur district of Punjab, which neighbors the provincial capital Lahore, about 280 children were reported to have been subjected to sexual abuse for 6 years or more. The gang of 21 perpetrators made over 400 videos of the children. Video tapes of the children were used by the perpetrators as a means of extortion from the families of the children.
The incident as a whole has shown the extent of child warfare organization within the country. Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, has reiterated that they shall be brought to justice. Six years too late?
These disgraceful events happen not only to girls, but also to boys, mostly when their education has just begun. Such perverts, in the name of teaching or guiding in schools, training centers and academies, abuse the children.
IS THIS HUMANISM? CAN WE EVEN SAY WE ARE HUMANS?
Let me include that Child Domestic Labor is increasing in Pakistani society and there is no such law which gives protection to domestic employed children. Child Domestic Labor is one of the worst forms of human rights abuse. These children become victims of physical, verbal and sexual harassment, which take away their innocence. Most of them lose their lives, and some, become victims of different psychological disorders.
According to the Global Slavery Index 2014, Pakistan is on 3rd place in child labor with 2,058,200 population in modern slavery. And this number is increasing every single day.
Only a while back, the government of Pakistan passed on Friday, 11th March 2016, a bill that criminalizes sexual assault against minors, child pornography and trafficking. However, the punishment of such an inhuman act is only 7-10 years, and still Child Labor/ Sexual Abuse continues.
It really does beg the question as to whether or not the legislative council and their statutory institutions have turned a blind eye towards all these cases. Now, I question the government officials, the welfare organizations and you, the readers:
Are 7 years of imprisonment enough for someone who has devastated a child’s whole life?
How do we justify people treating children as slaves?
Just because an individual is born into a poor family, does that mean they do not have the right to feel loved and safe?
If it was the story of – God forbid – your child, or a child you knew?
No one has a right to demoralize and desecrate someone’s life. The society we are living in is conflicted, where the problems are for the poor and rules are unbent in their injustice for the deprived. Law enforcement is weak.
Stand Strong for their Rights
Every year bills are being passed, but implementation is rarely seen because of less law-empowered areas. The most important step one can take, is to spread awareness about child abuse. Many parents do not educate their children, nor themselves know how to protect them from the threat of child predators, and those whose children have already fallen prey, do not know what to do and who they should approach for reporting their child’s abuse cases.
Secondly, once most people know someone’s child has suffered abuse, they make them feel as though they themselves are responsible, or have done something wrong. Such kind of socializing behavior from our society makes the child isolated, feel unwanted and severely psychologically burdened. It is one of the main reasons for increasing crime rate in Pakistan. Most of the time when these children are being sexually abused, they don’t understand the circumstances, and later they suffer depression, anxiety and commit suicide.
My heart is literally beating like a drum, and my eyes are full of tears, and I wrote all this to release my frustration regarding these terrible issues. Whether they are being slaughtered in Dara Adam Khel (Near Peshawar), being attacked at Army Public School and College Peshawar, Bacha Khan University, Charsadda or being robbed of their childhood in Kasur? Why is the government failing to take care of their own people, the most innocent of all – children?
My story is not an extremely unique one – many people discuss this issue among themselves, but what they need to do, is raise their voice. In thinking that it will not make a difference, let me tell you – yes, it will. One man CAN change the world. And as long as blood flows through my veins, I will do everything in my power to protect children’s lives.
And so I request each and everyone of you to please, help me. Raise your voices alongside mine, not only for the children who are being victimized, but also for those who are being deprived of the basic rights they deserve.
Instead of leaning back and enjoying your luxurious lives, let us do something for the betterment of the society. I hope I have played a small role in the betterment of the society, and I hope to continue to do so. Good luck, and God bless you all.