If seeing six-year-old children dance is sexually attractive, the problem lies with your sick mind, not the girls

Published: January 23, 2018
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Most people have been objecting on one of the girl’s clothing, but if clothes could protect people from monsters, young boys would never get raped. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT

In the wake of the incidents in Kasur, which has caused a chaos in the country, there has been a lot of uproar on social media against a kids’ dance competition conducted on a local morning show. Kids as young as six can be seen dancing on Bollywood songs, including item numbers, as they try to copy the dance moves often seen in such songs. Only a few seconds are enough to determine that the programme was indeed in poor taste and definitely should not have been aired.

Forward as Received

جب پوری دنیا کے سامنے کم سن بچیوں کو سرعام نچوایا جائے گا تو کم سن بچیوں کے ریپ میں کمی کیسے ہو گی 😡 😡ہم سب کا مطالبہ ہے کہ مورننگ شو پر پابندی لگائ جائےآپ آپنی رائے کا اظہار کمنٹ میں لازمی کرنا۔۔۔Report PEMRA BAN Sahir Lodhi

Posted by News Updates on Thursday, January 18, 2018

To add insult to injury, the promotional clips for these videos displayed pictures of participating children next to Bollywood item queens, as if posing the question “who did it better”. The outrage was, thus, neither unwarranted nor surprising.

However, looking at the outrage, I am baffled at how some people have used these clips to justify what has been happening in our country. How can any normal individual look at a child, regardless of what they are wearing or doing, and perceive them to be sexually attractive? Who looks at a child and thinks of them in a sexual manner? Only sick minds are capable of doing that.

Ask any child in Pakistan, and they will most likely have at least one story of harassment, cruelty, exploitation or a narrow escape to share. I consider myself to be among those few incredibly lucky ones who didn’t face anything too damaging during their childhood. However, being born female, and raised in a country where roughly 11 children are abused every single day, I have had my share of narrow escapes.

Growing up, like any other child, my world also revolved around my family, friends and playing. But once I entered my teens and started learning about life, albeit on my own with little guidance on such matters, I realised how blessed I was to never have experienced the atrocities that many children are not lucky enough to escape.

There is one incident of narrow escape that still makes me immensely proud of myself, which happened when I was around seven or eight-years-old. During those days, children could play outside with their friends without being hit by a stray bullet or getting kidnapped, and even if they did, we never heard about it on TV the next day.

I was playing with a friend of mine when a street vendor selling corn and chickpeas, who used to frequently visit our area, started pelting us with chickpeas. He was sleazily singing a song which we didn’t understand, and started following us on the street. My immediate reaction was to run inside my home and tell my father about what had happened. My dearest Abbu, who was entertaining a guest, did not ask any questions or order me to stay in the house. Instead, he rushed outside and informed the chowkidar (guard), and also warned the vendor of grave consequences if he was ever to be seen in the locality again.

At that time, I didn’t comprehend what had happened, or what could have happened. If anything, I was pleasantly surprised to see that for once, my father had picked a fight for me instead of asking us to forgive an unkind friend, cousin or an annoying classmate. Little did the child in me understand that this experience was very different from the harmless disagreements I had with friends and acquaintances.

After all these years, whenever I read about child sexual exploitation in our country, I always reminiscence about this incident and realise how innocent children are and how horrible some adults can be.

As strange as the episode was, I do appreciate a few things that happened on that day. First, I informed my father of the incident without any hesitation. My siblings and I were to share every minute detail of our lives with our parents, which is why I wasn’t afraid of reaching out to them; it was routine for me. We did get scolded when we deserved it, but I do feel that encouraging us to share strengthened our bond as a family and gave us the confidence to speak up.

Second, there was no awkwardness or anger or embarrassment afterward. My father never stopped us from playing outside, and he didn’t make it seem like an outlandish experience. Although I feel that as a parent I would do something slightly different – I would explain to my child what had happened, or what could have happened, but I suppose that those times were indeed very different.

Third, and most importantly, I don’t remember my parents asking me to not wear frocks or to start wearing a scarf or a carry a dupatta following the incident. I remained a child for many years to come, and my innocence was never questioned, stifled or challenged.

Unfortunately, things are very different now. A seven-year-old Zainab gets brutally murdered, and people conclude that westernisation is responsible for it. The Kasur scandal is once again in the limelight, but people are blaming children dancing on Bollywood item numbers for increasing rates of child sexual abuse. This is not in any way a defence or promotion of item numbers (if anything, I do agree they objectify women and should be banned), but blaming innocent victims for someone else’s barbarity has never been right and never will be.

What astonishes me even more is that seemingly normal people, who superficially do not condone such cruel incidents, still think it is acceptable to deflect the responsibility on victims instead of the perpetrators. These victims aren’t adults who can sense danger, or who in the eyes of our society were “asking for it”. These victims are innocent, vulnerable and clueless children who deserve anything but exploitation.

Around the globe, there is a strong movement taking place against sexual harassment, assault and victimisation. As with any other campaign, the #MeToo movement is also evolving with each passing day. Some stories are confusing, some enlightening, and some simply heart-wrenching. However, all of us are learning something through every emerging story, and ultimately expect the movement to bring a positive change.

Unfortunately, in Pakistan, we are fast regressing to an era where the victims are further victimised by our society. If a woman gets harassed, we assume that she wasn’t dressed appropriately. Similarly, if a child gets raped, the parents are deemed irresponsible. The blame is shifted on to everyone but the perpetrator.

After reading some disturbing comments on the videos, I am horrified to see the mentality that prevails in our country. Seeing a six-year-old child dance should not be pleasurable or sexually gratifying to anyone. Most people have been objecting on one of the girl’s clothing, but if clothes could protect people from monsters, young boys would never get raped.

Can any one explain this? On one side we are saddened by an innocent angel being raped and Murdered #justiceforzainab…

Posted by Nauman Arfeen on Monday, January 15, 2018

Or should we now expect our young boys to wear a scarf or dupatta to protect them from abusers? Can we not even send our children for Quran lessons anymore? Is there no accountability for corrupt politicians and law enforcers who have time and again disappointed us and endangered our children by acquitting criminal elements? And most importantly, is it not the sick people who attack and rape little children that deserve all of our condemnation, loathing and rage?

Blaming a child’s attire or their dance moves to justify looking at them in a sexual manner is not normal. It seems that as a society, we are so desperate to avert from the real causes of perversion that we end up accusing our children. The prevalence of this attitude and mentality can only further delay the realisation that though there is indeed something wrong in our society, none of the fault lies in our children.

Dureen Anwer

Dureen Anwer

Dureen is a communications professional from Pakistan, now living in the UK. Having worked for a local government and now for the healthcare sector in England, she often wonders why Pakistan can't be developed like these Western countries. She tweets @ConfusciousDee (twitter.com/ConfusciousDee)

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

  • Keyboard Soldier

    Not many rapists are hanged at the end of the day. Most rape cases get 10 years or so in prison; and that is only if the perpetrator is from an extremely poor background; who doesn’t have the money to pay for lawyers or compensation for the victim to get himself bailed out.Recommend

  • Jimmy Chan

    Well if the dance is on a sexually charged Indian item number song … why is the child allowed to dance to it? Why is Sahir Lodhi amazed by it? Why is this show on your TV sets for all sorts of perverts to watch? Why is it that this kind of nonsense is portrayed as a *talent show* ?Recommend

  • tuk

    People who are making kids do suggestive moves for their ratings are culprit here. Yes, you can teach kids dance but not sexually suggestive moves. That is child exploitation!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nicely argued …… those who are ‘ sick in the head ‘ also suffer from something called denial and self righteousness. In most cases, these people rely on religious text that has been cherry-picked and interpreted out of context to justify their warped thinking.Recommend

  • Anam Batool Shabbar

    Kindly watch all the videos n then write article again. They are not looking like 6 or 7 year girls by any angle. Secondaly we are muslims. This is not our culture at all. Copying indian culture and making shows just like their theme is pathetic. I hate these dances. Let the kids study for God sake… dance is not our culture.Recommend

  • Veer Singh

    The sickness in Pakistani society is finally being exposed. Not too long ago, many Pakistanis were calling India “the rape capital of the world”. Well guess what, Pakistan is now being called the “the Child rape capital of the world”.Recommend

  • Uzair Abbas

    Pakistan can develop if people like the writer return to Pakistan and improve it. Recommend

  • Zia

    I think the problem is with those persons who involved our lil angels into such vulgar stuff. This is what we are preparing/training our childs for??? one can’t clap with one hand. so we’ve to see both sides of the sceneRecommend

  • RE

    Young girls with such dresses and dancing on item songs is actually sick. Being a mother of 7 years old girl, i would never allow my girl to act like this. You are objectifying them from early age. And its not about Pakistani society. Pedophilia is getting common across the globe. if dancing and acting is not bad then why even banning child pornography. Stop defending such acts on name of liberalism without understanding the societal issues.Recommend

  • aaa

    Dear Ms. writter Your are living in UK. does Islam allow such things?????? its very easy to write something in news paper or on any other media source Recommend

  • Zia

    I think the writer is unable to differentiate b/w a 6 year old kid and a 12 year old girl. you can’t portray a 12 years old girl as kid which is just near to its puberty. and training such girls with vulgar expressions really is a matter of serious concerns.Recommend

  • Sheema Zain

    Disgusting dances what are the children’s parent’s thinking of.Recommend

  • M Sarmad

    so, as you have started it, what ARE the REAL causes of perversion? please do tellRecommend

  • Xahid

    of course, its the sick mind who watch anyone with “sexuality sense”

    But who is responsible to create the hype? its Media! who are creating such sense and show the whole world.

    Please remember “don’t feed the troll” but its the job of Media, I believe.Recommend

  • abdul hadi

    the problem is that you have a female brain and you can never understand the psycho of male brain.Recommend

  • Khurram

    So, according to you one must not rely on what Islam has to say rather, we should hear about the twisted ideas presented by the educated upstarts like you, with the secular ideas.Recommend

  • Azuntai

    I strongly demand to ban all kinds of movement of Goats, sheep, Hens, buffalo’s and camels as well. The fact is, some of the movements are interpreted as sexually suggestive and thus have caused rapes of Goats, sheep and Hens as well. Cuz, you know…. Men will be men.

    We should also ban dead women making any moves from the grave as that can also be interpreted as sexually suggestive. This will prevent dead women from being raped.Recommend

  • asad

    Yes, there are weaker and stronger minded in every society, and most of the weaker people are not willing to admit their weakness, let alone ask for help. I am not being a sympathizer for such people, but what if they have overpowering desires, and there is no one helping them out, either religiously or emotionally? Something to ponder over…Recommend

  • Eifa Navaid

    I wonder who ever justified the rape of Zainab using this show. It’s a clear manipulative comparison being drawn. Besides, letting the young girls carry out inciting dances on national TV could indeed become a catalyst to whats happening in the longer run (if its not already one). So, neither deeming the show solely responsible for child abuses is justified, nor letting go of it as unimpeachable.

    And those arguing 6-7 years old girls aren’t gratifying to many must understand the dynamics of this society. In our society where most of the girls are wedded off at the start of their puberty (that is at 10 or 11), even such young girls could be gratifying. Now call it the sick mentality of some, but you can’t help the situation. You can’t kill half the population. You have to find the solution from within the equation, rather trying to change the equation — which is nothing but wishful thinking.Recommend

  • ghayyas

    The 6 years old girl’s dance on the show may put into danger the other kids who are unprotected, weak and vulnerable in the society. There are so many bad people in the society who are just looking for weak targets. Such dances or obscene acts by our actresses in movies/dramas won’t hurt them but they could hurt other innocent weak women. You know when the Taliban can’t strike well-protected targets, what do they do? They strike at un-protected public places resulting in deaths to poor innocent people. Recommend

  • Yousuf Mukhtar

    Its a tragedy that people are blaming such TV shows for the incident of kasur and many others. It literally tragic. I can’t agree more to this point with the writer. However, its equally tragic and disappointing to see the writer justify such TV shows. In no corner of the world, should such TV shows where kids are encourage to do acts which are generally associated with sexuality. Its simply unethical to encourage kids to indulge in such acts. Its not even art. If they were doing a contemporary dance act on a national song i would have applauded it. This is of no use to any body in this global world, in which we as a nation are already far behind in contributing something useful.Recommend

  • Fahad

    No again we Pakistani’s need to thank India for that. Thank you for the vulgar films.Recommend

  • Veer Singh

    Do we put a gun to your heads & force you guys to watch our “vulgar” movies? Even when our movies are not released in Pakistan, you guys watch pirated copies of them – that’s how much you guys are addicted to Indian movies. Your logic is similar to a chain smoker blaming the shop owner that sells cigarettes, for his addiction.Recommend

  • Wadood Amer

    I totally agree with you.Recommend

  • AJ

    I was pleasantly surprised at how your father responded when you reported the incident to him. I think it is a perfect example of protecting your child without imposing unnecessary restrictions. May we have more parents like him. May God protect our children.Recommend

  • Keem Doe

    How long has this been going on in Pakistan? This isn’t new, is it? This shows that this thing doesn’t just happen in my home country back in the Philippines. It’s also happening in America where kids nowadays are being “sexualized”.

    There are thongs for children.

    There’s a show in the Philippines called Goin’ Bulilit where little girls were dressed in a two piece outfit. Kids shouldn’t wear clothes that are designed for adults.Recommend

  • Leonard Harrison

    Well said, SirRecommend

  • Leonard Harrison

    Excellent comment. You are absolutely right.Recommend

  • Leonard Harrison

    You madam have given the most perfect reply. I wish more people thought like you. This is an exact representation of media’s agenda: to expose our children to alien norms and values. These are monsters and must be stopped by the common people.Recommend