Stories about child sexual abuse

Seeking #JusticeForZainab in a land where mindset might change but inherent nature will not

We all saw Zainab’s funeral on our television screens. Some of us were there as well, witnessing her cold body wrapped in a white cloth with a green cloth bearing verses from the Holy Quran. Then we read the ticker on all news channels that informed us of her burial in a local graveyard. All of this compelled me to envisage the pre-Islamic age of ignorance of which one of the prime features was burying newborn girls alive. Many believe that both of these are two isomers of the same ignorance that comprises philistinism, unawareness, barbarism, inhumanity and ruthlessness. Although ...

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For men, there might be a difference between a rapist and a sexual harasser, but for us women, it’s one and the same

I was astonished to read “When #MeToo Goes Too Far”, an essay by Bret Stephens in The New York Times, in which he harangued women for not knowing the difference between sexual harassment and violent rape. His bottom line was that if you don’t treat sexual harassers more gently than you do rapists, everyone’s going to get tired of #MeToo, and leave you out in the cold. Well, and here I was thinking that being violently raped is exactly the same and as bad as sexual harassment on the street, or at work. Thank you for pointing the difference out to ...

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For Pakistan’s women, the false promise of safety in return for compliance is a double-edged sword

When it comes to living in this part of the world, Pakistani women have long been presented with a causational dictum. Comply and you will survive. Sacrifice in patience and the reward will come to you. Our parents worry when we step out of our homes, pursue higher education, or when we want careers, as the first reaction always is, “Beta, it’s dangerous.” It is dangerous to be out after dark, to be opinionated, or independent – because independent “awara” women are the ones who are assaulted and harassed. Yet, the statistics speak otherwise: – In November, a seven-year-old girl was raped and murdered by two brothers. – In November, a ...

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Happy Children’s Day, Pakistan! BTW, child sexual abuse increased by 10% since 2016

Child abuse is one of the most prevalent social issues in Pakistan. A 2017 report suggests that there has been a 10% increase in cases since last year alone. The issue is only made worse by the fact that neither do we talk about its prevalence, nor do we take any preventive or rehabilitative measures to deal with it. Topics of importance, such as child abuse, rape, sexual assault, honour killing, forced marriage or mental illness, all are considered taboo and often brushed under the rug. The fear of being shunned by society and victim-shamed is perhaps what keeps some of the victims from speaking up about the issue ...

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When your “trusted” male servant is caught molesting your little girl, what can you do as a parent?

Some miseries are avoidable. If you speak to victims of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, they’ll tell you they wished they had spoken up. Done something to stop it. Wished somehow they could have had the opportunity to stop it from happening. They live with this guilt, among other negative feelings for years. This is why educating masses ,especially parents is essential. More than children and individuals alone, educational systems and parents should be given lessons on how to deal with such situations and what can be done to prevent such instances from happening. One such way is fairly simple – teach your ...

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#MeToo: I am older, wiser and more determined than the little girl who was forced to hold an imam’s genitals – but not safer

The first time it happened, I was seven. An imam in our neighbourhood mosque held me, taking my hand, wrapping my fingers (they were still tiny) around his genitals, then massaging it. I was so small I did not know what it was that was in my hand. I had never seen it before and I certainly did not know what it felt like.  “Do you like it?” he asked again and again, until someone came to the room, and he quickly let go of me. Later, I told my mom about this peculiar incident, and she wept for weeks and months over ...

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Sexual abuse: How safe is it to let your kid play football in England?

Imagine taking your little one to his usual Sunday cricket practice. You reach the academy and drag an unenthusiastic child out of the car while putting his reluctance down as usual weekend morning blues. The overtly chummy coach, whom you have known for quite a while now, is there to receive your son. You hand over your kid to him, wave at them and leave the ground content with the fact that your lad is in safe hands. But is he really safe? Hundreds of parents all across England must have thought the same when they left their kids in a ...

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The faults in PEMRA’s decisions

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority – or PEMRA as we know it – is the body that aims to regulate and monitor content released in Pakistan on television and broadcasting networks.  This is their mandate: 1. Improve the standards of information, education and entertainment; 2. Enlarge the choice available to the people of Pakistan in the media for news, current affairs, religious knowledge, art, culture, science, technology, economic development, social sector concerns, music, sports, drama and other subjects of public and national interest; 3. Facilitate the devolution of responsibility and power to the grass roots by improving the access of the people to ...

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The rusty water

In the utmost silence of the dark room, he pulled the journal out from the drawer trying not to make a sound. The dust on the jacket of the cover forced him to scrunch up his nose as he withheld a sneeze. After recovering, he sat on his bedside with the journal in his lap. Under the dim moonlight beaming through the window, he began reading. June 9, 1946 Dear Diary, I think we will finally be able to stay permanently in Khushkot. Our dear uncle came last night with some official papers and Abbu had signed them. This is great news! ...

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You are willing to ban Udaari, but are you willing to jail the man who molested me?

It was a paralysing scene; a moment where lust, hunger and greed, all were entwined. It was when Imtiaz held Zebo’s little hands – a gesture which was seemingly innocent and affectionate, but paradoxically brought to light his malicious intent. His lingering gaze on the child, and his words with sexual undertones immediately replaced the gentle loving father with a man falling prey to his own animalistic traits. This was all PEMRA could take, and me too. Our reasons, of course, were different; for PEMRA it was truth-overdose. For me, it brought back memories. My eyes were transfixed on the screen, but ...

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