Stories about child sexual abuse

Don’t invite child abuse victims if you can’t be sensitive or respectful towards them, HRPC

I was in attendance at the ‘Conference on the Protection of Childhoods’ that was held on March 17, 2019, at Al Hamra Hall, Lahore. The first conference of its kind held in Pakistan, it was organised by Human Rights Protection Centre (HRPC) and Positive Pakistan. On paper, the conference was supposed to provide a platform for change and awareness for the public on child sexual abuse. The panel had acclaimed media personalities, government officials and even a retired justice from Australia, Dr Robyn Layton, who has spent all her life working for child protection and women and children rights. On paper, ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Unmasking the paedophile

What would you call an adult who abuses children for sexual and/or romantic gratification? A paedophile. According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a child is a human being less than 18 years of age. Going by the CRC’s definition, the global authority for all mental health practitioners, the American Psychiatric Association, has set a particular criteria to diagnose someone as a paedophile. Paedophiles can be exclusive or non-exclusive. Exclusive paedophiles are the ones with sole preference for children for romantic and/or sexual relationships, while non-exclusive paedophiles have a preference for adults as well. The perpetrators ...

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“Patriarchy ka janaaza”: The outrage is proof that we need more Aurat Marches

I’m marching through the streets of Karachi, I’m marching through the streets of Karachi. My feet connecting with the cold hard concrete of Saddar, I feel my heart beating. I’m pumping my fist in the air, I’m waving my poster side to side, I’m feeling safe, I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin. I’m screaming “Azadi” at the top of my lungs. I’m looking around. Documenting this moment for today, For every day, For all my tomorrows. – Aurat March 2019. Last Friday was International Women’s Day, and to spread awareness about the Aurat March, #WhyIMarch was trending on Twitter and various other social media platforms. Women shared their truths and spread the ...

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Easy way out: Stop blaming drugs, porn for Kasur’s child abuse cases and address the real reasons

Kasur, a city with a population of 3,454,996, has seen rising incidences of sexual violence, including child sexual abuse. This city has seen 700 cases of child sexual abuse in the last three years. Faces of little Zainab Ansari and the victims of the series of child sexual abuse scandal that involved at least 280 boys are still fresh in mind. The federal Ombudsman recently brushed many reasons under the carpet by using common buzzwords and only blamed drugs, pornography and prostitution for the increase in sexual violence against children. My contention is that the Ombudsman has taken an extremely narrow approach in understanding a complex, ...

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Surviving R Kelly in the #MeToo era: Because one victim’s voice is not enough for justice

Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and now R Kelly. Like countless other men, these men were accused and guilty of sexual abuse and assault against women. Here is the situation that continues to baffle many people including myself: when a woman claims she was sexually abused or assaulted, the man in question always tends to deny it. Why does our society and justice system always defend the man? Despite living in a time and society where we want to empower women, why are they not being listened to in the first place? Believe it or not, there are enough people out there who ...

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The year of Zainab: Pakistan was jolted awake by the abuse of its children, but is that enough?

She stood by the footpath, her shoulders slouched because of the heavy bag she was carrying. I was waiting at the traffic signal in my car and something about her caught my attention. She was a fine kid, probably 10 or 11-years-old, and was coming from the school adjacent to where my car was stopped. She had two pigtails tied with blue ribbons, and yet her face was very tense. It had an unpleasant, don’t-mess-with-me expression, while her body language could best be described as stiff. Every woman reading this knows the expression, because it never goes away. We are taught to ...

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When “holy men” become sinful predators

Growing up in South Asia, we are taught about our religion from a very young age. Be it Islam, Hinduism or Christianity, we are all instructed to do right by our religion by abstaining from evil and taking the path of righteousness, as intended for us by God. Children are made to understand the significance of religion, for it is through religion that parents teach kids about the difference between right and wrong, and good and evil. Of course, children are naïve. They genuinely believe that because their religion is pure, then surely the ones teaching it to them must be ...

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#MeToo: I was 8 when he taught me that a woman’s body is everyone else’s but her own

“Dekh ke aahangar ki dukaan mein Tund hai shu’le, surkh hai aahan.” (See how in the blacksmith’s forge, Flames leap high and steel glows red) I was 15-years-old when I wrote a letter to my father. I was struggling at school, getting into trouble in the neighbourhood and fighting with my siblings at home. You know the usual teenage angst. I wrote, “Dad, I know what S* uncle did. I remember everything. I need help.” The week after, my father insisted that I attend a family friend’s wedding with him. At the wedding, he asked me to step outside the hall for five minutes. ...

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My right hand is clean

Laughter. Running around. Two toddlers and a baby having a jolly good time. Favourite place, Nani ma’s home; the room with the large windows, letting in the afternoon sun, warm and friendly, dancing around the marble floor. One disgusting teenage boy. Around 14 or 15. With yellow teeth and a hideous laugh. Watching over the children as they play. Hired for the ‘supervision’ of the baby. Looking for an opportunity to strike. And then he found one. “Do you want to play with a new toy?” He asked the little girl, who was gleefully laughing as she chased her cousin around the room. She ...

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5 reasons why every parent and child need to stop everything and watch ‘Meri Guriya’

Our local drama industry has been producing hits after hits. Thankfully, now we are not just producing entertaining content but also emphasising on content that educates the masses. We weren’t even done applauding the recently concluded Khaani, when we were graced with another amazing drama called Meri Guriya. The serial brings to light one of the darkest and less-talked about realities of our society: child sexual abuse, rape and murder. Though not the first of its kind, Meri Guriya is inspired by a real story and realistically portrays the aftermath of such a horrendous crime. Brilliantly scripted by Radain Shah and ...

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