Did you know?
1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys will be a victim of sexual child abuse during the course of their youth.
Worldwide, approximately 40 million children below the age of 15 are subjected to child abuse each year.
[ World Health Organization (WHO) ]
Those numbers drive you crazy? Me too. Let’s talk about it.
Statistically, only 3,508 cases of child abuses were reported across Pakistan in 2014.
Kills me to say “only“.
However, the actual child abuse incidents occurring are FAR greater than those reported and here’s why.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has recently issued a warning and a threat to possibly ban a Pakistani TV serial ” Udaari“which is based around sexual child harassment and abuse.
Their claim? The scenes played in Udaari are “unethical” and “offensive“. Also, they’ve apparently received many complaints from parents to take the serial off TV, claiming the show is not family-friendly and is inappropriate for children.
I could easily name a handful of Pakistani dramas that have been played and are being played on the same TV channels which showed multiple scenes of sexual harassment and rape.
The difference? Showcasing the typical zulm sehnay wali bahoo ( oppression bearing daughter-in-law) vs. wanting to highlight a GENUINE ISSUE ( haw, how dare they?).
I’m all for keeping vulgarity off television, but what I do not comprehend is how showcasing a drama which includes a rape scene of a fully grown woman and how her life turns miserable after is completely acceptable, but showcasing the most NON VULGARLY DIRECTED SCENE to highlight an extremely neglected issue deserves a ban?
Quite the uniform standards, PEMRA. Touché.
Do I think PEMRA is lying about receiving complaints regarding Udaari? Nope.
In a society of ours where sanitary napkins are still sold in concealed brown bags, where GOD FORBID if your father or brother comes across an Always™ commercial, because mother nature is a sin. Oh and you better have a hiding spot for them in your house too, where educating our people about contraception is an act of no good and also gets a ban by PEMRA.
We are a society that likes to live in a bubble.
Everything’s all fine and dandy as long as it doesn’t hit home. Dirty gossip on the celebrities? Yes please. Morning shows that invite on “yoga teachers” with the most vulgar moves? A-okay. Qandeel Baloch? Say no more! And a country where should I argue with the biggest following of all the nude scenes in Game of Thrones? Tick!
So who are the people complaining to PEMRA?
The mamoos (maternal uncle), chachas ( paternal uncle), cousins, neighbors, fathers and brothers that ARE abusing a young one in their homes and because now THIS hits home and they can’t bear the idea of their victim gaining enough confidence to speak against them. This is the reason that the 3,508 cases are not even a FRACTION of the number of everyday occurrences. These are the people that blackmail the victims and are the reason I’m writing this article.
And for good awful reasons like “keeping the family together” and “family reputation” and “for your own good”. Any potential cases that could be brought up are kept behind closed doors, where the victims stays a victim and the culprit, a culprit.
The parents who have ridiculous issues because TV isn’t family-friendly, are also behind such complaints. Reality check parents – the whole world out there is NOT family-friendly.
Here’s a scenario: in a home there are knives, small objects, sharp objects, many things which are in no way safe if not handled correctly. When you have a young toddler at home, as parents, you establish baby proof house. you take away and hide any potential objects that may be harmful to your little toddler. But why?
Why can’t you sit your little 2 month old down and tell them they can’t touch it because it’s dangerous?
That’s right. THEY DON’T HAVE THE CAPACITY TO UNDERSTAND YET.
Unfortunately these are the parents who have stuck to that baby proofing technique for all of their kids lives. Should content creators add age ratings or advice viewer discretion to their sensitive content before hand? YES.
But sorry to burst your the-world-is-made-of-unicorns-and-rainbows bubble , I’d like to remind you that soon enough your little one will have a bigger brain and will develop a capacity to learn and understand. You WILL have to send your kid out into the “not family-friendly” world and without proper guidance from home, he/she WILL make bad choices.
So when your kids point to the TV and ask “what does this mean”, TAKE AWAY THEIR CURIOSITY by answering the questions they have, because if you don’t an outside source will, and you won’t like it. STOP banning and baby proofing your pre-teen and teenager kids from the world. SIT them down and explain to them the consequences of bad decisions and evils of the world. Then watch them grow into adults that can tell good or bad, on their own.
Child Abuse is real. It’s happening in most homes and maybe even under your own nose. Don’t let abuse stay behind closed doors.
TALK. SHOUT. REPORT.
As for PEMRA and to the concerned parents, Restriction is not the answer.
Banning is not the answer.
Education is and always will be!