What happens when your 12-year-old surfing the internet is exposed to porn?

Published: November 12, 2016
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The matter reached the police and reached the courts which charged the boy with six charges of raping his sister.

“The boy had told her if she didn’t have sex ‘she wouldn’t be his sister any more’”.

That’s what the prosecutor said; standing in a British court room during the trial. The young girl – aged under nine – suffered these disturbing acts one after the other and kept her silence – pressurised and blackmailed like nearly all victims are. Her next decision?

She went and confided in her mother after which he used the same defence tactic that she had ‘consented’ for sex. Many victims find their stories go unheard and ignored when the possibility of ‘consensual sex’ begins to loom around. The matter reached the police and reached the courts which charged the boy with six charges of raping his sister and has been sentenced with a referral order and had a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) imposed upon him.

This means that the boy cannot contact his sister nor can he associate with anyone under the age of 16.

A young girl spoke about her ordeal and someone listened.

Rape is defined as sex without consent and is considered to be a crime in the UK and sexual abuse carried out upon children becomes a sub-heading under child abuse. But the UK considers sexual and child abuse to be a crime and is punishable under British law but thousands of miles away in Pakistan, rape is a taboo subject. Not usually discussed as frequently.

Pakistani law requires any crime involving a sexual act – including rape – to have four witnesses who can guarantee the victim’s statement. Rape isn’t normally carried out in the eyes of the world and nearly all victims do not have the witnesses that the law demands; hence they are accused of committing illegal sexual relations. They are shamed and humiliated while the perpetrator goes free. The message – that spreads far and wide – is clear. If you’re a rape victim, it’s your fault. Justice – if the victim seeks it – is at the end of a long, painful and often endless journey in a country where the authorities sell their conscience for a handful of rupees.

Parents are often pressurised or threatened to remain silent or to not pursue legal action and become perpetrators in a sense in their children’s eyes. The fault lies not in the victim but the perpetrator obviously but also in the way our society runs and thinks. In a male-dominated country, society is built upon rules and laws that are not equal or fair to everyone. As time goes by, that foundation built on those hard-line rules becomes dangerously stronger and almost suffocating for the open-minded and liberal mind that begins to develop. The fault lies in the way people think. Laws and rules are based on what and how people think. Their systems run on those laws and rules, and the society functions through these systems. It all begins with how people think.

Somebody once told me that if one person decides to do things differently and succeeds in doing things differently and then maybe another person will decide to follow that individual’s lead and hence inspire somebody else and then awakening something in another person and so on and so forth.

Let us all reflect back on the story of this underage girl and how she took a stand in telling her mother about what was happening to her. Standing up for yourself and speaking for your rights is a human being’s right – regardless of whether you’re a man or woman, an adult or a child – and no-one can take that right away from you. Ideologies can’t, the law can’t, the system can’t and the society, most definitely, cannot.

Also, technology is another huge factor that has contributed to the rise of pornography. The internet is now widely available on computers, laptops, tablets, phones, and so many other devices. I remember in my childhood, there was no internet broadband in my house. We had to unplug the phone line and used the phone plug to connect with a modem that provided internet. It was only for an hour or two to complete homework unlike now, where the broadband runs 24/7 and many things are easily accessible.

In a world where the humanity is racing ahead with all its latest flashy developments of sleek gadgets and devices, we think we are making progress. But while we are making ‘progress’, our next generation is losing more than they are gaining. Our children are more accustomed to swiping their fingers across shiny screens than playing in the sand on a sunny day. When it comes to technology, I miss my childhood days where my siblings and I had an ordinary TV and a VCR and when I laid eyes on the very first computer my father brought when I was eight-years-old, I jumped with joy seeing the grey-white bulky monitor being unpacked.

Of course now, the grey-white bulky computers have now been replaced with flashy, flat-screen, bag-sized laptops that occupy a space nearly in every room. Parents just shrug their shoulders and let their children work on their laptops with little to no supervision at all. Unless we start controlling technology, instead of letting technology control us, pornography will remain a painful problem that will take more time to fix, the longer we wait.

When it comes to society and technology, the real change depends on us and whether we’re willing to try and deliver that change. We need to change our thinking to better our society and we need to change and control our attitudes towards technology.

aneka.chohan

Aneka Chohan

The author is a freelance journalist and human rights activist. She tweets as @anekachohan (twitter.com/anekachohan)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.