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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Pedophilia: Pakistan’s very own ticking time bomb

The Kasur case should have been a harsh reminder that our ignorance, inaction and incompetence as a society will be the death of us, but unfortunately, we have somehow become a nation that is now resistant to such nauseous and barbaric acts.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nations do not die from invasion; they die from internal rottenness.” Child abuse is a social hornet’s nest, seething ever so lightly into society and tearing our most valuable asset – our children. Pedophilia is a filthy secret which is brought up in dinner room discussions and parliament sessions but often hushed and dusted under the rug.

Abusers are seldom a mythical stranger prowling on the streets 

Somewhat hard to address is the fact that the abuser is seldom a mythical stranger prowling on the streets, rather an acquaintance, a caretaker, a friend of the family. Society has constructed a standard, that preservation of girls at home, barred from socialization, keeps them safe from occurrences of sexual abuse. What we fail to understand is that most of the cases of sexual abuse happen at home, making young girls more susceptible to incest.

The idea that abuse and crime happens at the hands of a stranger has blinded the society from taking a stand against monsters that reside right under our noses. As for boys – gendered norms and expectations has deemed them free of threats, putting young boys in tremendously susceptible positions.

Kasur: The hard truth about pedophilia in Pakistan 

Pakistan commemorates the sacrifices of the future leaders of Pakistan – snatched ruthlessly by the notorious APS attack, but the shame attached to Kasur makes us reluctant to reminisce the horrors subjected to our children, even though as per Cruel Numbers Report every day at least 10 children will become the victim of sexual abuse in Pakistan.

Up to nearly 300 children were brutally gang raped, forced to partake in barbaric sexual acts, molested with spinal injections, subjected to secondary violence by blackmail and incompetent judicial authorities in Kasur. These children in one small area of Punjab became the victim of power and glory – the pawns in satisfying the porn market and sick minds of pedophiles in and outside of Pakistan.

How many other Kasur’s are mutedly in devastation all over Pakistan?

The Kasur case should have been a harsh reminder that our ignorance, inaction and incompetence as a society will be the death of us, but unfortunately, we have somehow become a nation that is now resistant to such nauseous and barbaric acts.

The APS massacre that took place shook the whole nation into anguish, sadness and action towards collective response to terrorism. Yet, child abusers and pedophiles walk freely in the land of pure, as invisible terrorists.

With the APS attack, Pakistan saw the faces of her children slaughtered, murdered and annihilated on national television. Innocent lives lost and the ones that survived became traumatized endlessly. The collective response of the elite, authorities and the public determined the success of Pakistan in curbing and fighting terrorism.

Matters such as terrorism are securitized, in the name of National security and the well being of the future generations of Pakistan. Yet, it is significant to realize that the abused children of Kasur are now grown men with a history of sexual abuse, hence, 90% more likely to inhibit the same tendencies towards other children or their partners.

Pedophilia victims: Often the abused becomes the abuser

It is an endless loop, where the abused becomes the abuser. As Karl. A Menninger said “What’s done to children, they will eventually do to the society.” It is high time that Pakistan puts great emphasis on this matter of security. A nation cannot aspire to attain success and prosperity, when its younglings are mentally damaged and their predators walk freely.

Pedophilia is a disease! A pedophile knows that he is one when he hits a certain age, yet we only find out when the damage has already been done. As a nation, there is a need to strive towards eradicating these awful issues and look towards their reduction.

It is high time Pakistan ensures this by improving the Pakistan Penal Code to comprise child pornography provisions; administering the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000; establishing child-friendly courts and protection centers; normalizing self-awareness and self-protection in the context of child abuse in curricula, and running vigorous campaigns to diffuse knowledge to the community on the matter of sex education.

Sex education in Pakistan: Educating the masses 

In a country where sexual assault is rampant and our generations are on the brink of destruction, Pakistani’s still hesitate to talk about sex. Quality education on such matters has an extremely positive impact on behaviors, attitudes and perceptions.

Consequently, such education helps in understanding the human body including, reproductive health and reproductive rights. It prevents generations from succumbing to societal stereotypes as well turning towards dangerous information available on the internet for awareness leading to sexual violence. Educating our generations on matters of their body, security and well being must take precedence over distorted traditions of honor!

Pakistan comprises of a criminal justice system with laws but minimal implementation of the same. Citizens are hesitant while seeking help from tainted authorities; where the defective police refuses to accomplish its responsibility as the protector of the society, the Law ministry brushes off such cases as a “land dispute” and the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau dubs the Kasur case as the largest ever child abuse “scandal” of Pakistan thus  contributing to normalization of abuse.

Furthermore, parents refuse to educate and sensitize children upon matters of their body. We ourselves have created a culture that perpetuates humiliation, disgrace towards abuse victims. Knowingly or unknowingly, we are allowing this to happen to ourselves. We are all in on the dirty secret of Pedophilia.

The writer is a final year student at National Defence University, Former Intern at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Part-time public speaker and panelist at various universities. The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.