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A kid painting at Afghan Camp, Islamabad
A kid painting at Afghan Camp, Islamabad

Child Abuse: It shouldn’t hurt to be a child

By Atiqa Jabeen

There are three kinds of people when it comes to  define abuse; the abuser, the victim and the lucky ones. Abuse means doing something harmful or morally wrong. Now there are further categories to which kind of abuse we are talking about; whether it is emotional, financial or sexual abuse. Every kind of abuse is harmful and leaves a long-lasting impact on an individual.  We will talk about child sexual abuse in this article. The engagement of an adult in any sexual activity (touching, looking )  towards a child to meet  an individual’s’ biological needs or interest  is called sexual abuse.

All over the world, this is condemned and in our society what makes it worse? Child abuses go unreported that’s why the abusers find it easy to continue this inhuman act which is below the level of moral and ethical value. Who  are to be held responsible for this? Should we blame the abusers or the Parents?  Despite of the crime, the abusers commit, they have injected themselves in the society we live in a subliminal fashion. The blame takes path towards the parents as both the parents and children cannot shorten the bridge within themselves, because the society we live in is full of taboos and shamefulness and vice versa. The parents should work relentlessly to shorten the bridge of hesitation created by us and they should encourage their children to speak up and share the horrendous incidents they encounter every day. The law should be strictly enforced to protect the children’s rights.

Reports show that most of the abusers  lay among close relatives, family members and close friends with whom the child feels  comfortable and the abuser takes advantage of the situation.

Even being aware of the fact that the abuser is solely to be blamed, then why  children find it hard to speak up. The victims live under the shadow of their worst nightmare that they faced in their childhood ,while the abusers roam freely. We have to bring the culprits under justice publicly so that no one can ever try to follow their paths. Besides, we have to ensure the safety of  children in each and every place so that they can grow up in a healthy environment. According to watchdog report, the number of young boys being sexually abused in Pakistan has increased in 2015, with more boys between the ages of six and ten victims than girls. It’s obvious that more boys go out in the streets to play than girls and are easily trapped.Therefore, it’s dire  need of the time to equally look after both gender siblings and acquaint them about the social illness. According to Express Tribune 15 cases were registered in Gilgit-Baltistan in the initial months of 2015, according to details submitted to the National Assembly.

Most of the time, the society cannot accept the victims easily. Instead of welcoming the victim with a helping hand, they portray them as a laughing stock and a treat them like they have committed a sin. For that reason, many victims remain silent even after being severely abused and the main culprits get away from the accusations.

The abusers are considered as mentally sick  by many psychiatrists. This should be treated as soon as possible to secure the  traumatic life of the children. We should secure the highest punishment for them so that it can be a lesson for others as well. Helping the abused children and  assuring them a friendly environment can give them a new life and new hopes to recover the terrible experience. Everyone needs to share the message of child abuse to protect our children for a better future .With a population of  around 1.8 million ,the region is still not that complex population wise .The Government of Gilgit Baltistan however needs to  pass Child Protection bill and its implementation should be observed carefully.The NGOs working in the region can join hands with the local bodies to improve the law and suggest suitable reformations.Protect the children today and give them the necessary tools to succeed tomorrow.

 

The writer, Atiqa Jabeen is a visual artist, photographer and blogger and hails from Gilgit-Baltistan

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