Child Sexual Abuse: Because “shame matters”

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A nation needs a lot of things like good economy, culture, norms, values, great legal system and most importantly a nation who is aiming to become great, needs its people. Children are considered as future of a nation and to provide them a safe healthy environment is our responsibility and this responsibility is a shared responsibility in which each element of this society needs to contribute towards creating a safe environment for our children.We live in a country where only “shame matters” and people don’t want to talk and hear about this issue that is a dark reality of our society. People especially parents in our country choose not to discuss this issue with their children, not even for the sake of security of their own children.
Our cultural and religious sensitivities construct a hushed aura around this topic.

In past few years we witnessed advertisement campaigns running on TV by Sahil.org but now we don’t see such campaigns on TV though it was a great initiative to create awareness about child sexual abuse amid children. On daily basis we came across news such as child was sexually abused by her/his uncle, home tutor or by someone in their family but still parents stay quiet choose not to say anything about because for them “shame matters”.It is completely impossible to think in our country that someone within family might be sexually abusing our children. As an individual I believe that parents must consider the option to teach their kids by themselves rather than hiring someone from outside. Our society is very much interested in watching morning shows and other dramas, issues like child sexual abuse doesn’t really exist for them. I believe our society and media must breakthrough self-constructed social norms that “shame matters” and start not to care about shame and stigma to bring this issue in the focus ofpublic attention.

In 2014, 311 cases were reported from January to September, with 214 girls and 97 boys being sexually abused victims in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

In a report by Sahil (NGO) boys who were sexually abused raised by 4.3 percent in the first half of 2015 compared to the last year during same time period. The figures were, 178 boys aged 6 to 10 were abused compared to 150 girls of the same ages. The reason behind these figures was that male children are allowed to go out and play that is how they are easy targets and in most of the cases of female children who have been sexually abused, their families don’t report because shame matters to them than their own child’s safety.

Pakistan’s government took a step and decided to punish those who are guilty of sexually abusing female children with life imprisonment or death. This step was taken only to address sexual abuse against female children aged under14 years, not boys! I believe that we live in a country where it is impossible to accept the fact that a male child could be sexually abused as well.

For a moment lets imagine that government or society is not responsible to accept and solve this issues not even parents are responsible to protect our children but the second home of our children that is educational institute (school) is not taking any actions to make children aware of this issue and how can they deal with it when such thing happens to them. How can we aim to become a great nation in the world if our children aren’t mentally, psychologically and physically healthy, safe and protected?

As Nelson Mandela said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”  As a society we must let go of the thought that what people will say if we start discussing this issue openly and start standing up against people who are guilty.

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