Home Global Village PML-N senator public groping : Has child harassment become normalized in Pakistan?

PML-N senator public groping : Has child harassment become normalized in Pakistan?

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News Analysis |

A video of a senior PML-N senator groping a young girl in Karachi sparked a huge outcry on social media on Wednesday. The video showed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Muhammad Nisar constantly groping a minor girl while addressing the Pashtun Qaumi Grand Jigra, which was protesting against Naqeebullah’s murder in a fake encounter in Sohrab Goth area.

 Senator Muhammad Nisar is part of the Senate Standing Committee on Human rights and it was a visit from their delegation that was headed by Senator Nasreen Jalil and comprised of senators Farhatullah Baber and Shahi Syed among others.

The world is divided into good and bad people. The bad people will stay bad, you can’t reason with them to act otherwise and put your children at their mercy and expect benevolence. It is up to the good people to stop them.

In the video, it can clearly be seen that the senator is constantly ‘groping’ the little girl standing next to him in front of the whole congregation of protestors. What is surprising about the video is that no one among the congregation protested against the repugnant behavior of the senator. Everyone just sat quietly, listening to the senator while he engaged in such a vile act.

It has been less than a month since the whole nation was shaken by the tragedy of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur, who was raped multiple times before finally being killed and dumped in a trash heap. That incident resulted in a huge outcry and indignation on social media. That tragedy was followed by a number of other tragedies including the rape and murder of four-year-old Asma in Mardan.

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It has been established that our children are not safe and the law enforcement agencies have failed us but does that absolve us from the responsibility of protecting our own children? All the children in our society are our own and we need to recognize this. The child abusers, kidnappers, rapists and molesters are a part of our society, we might not know them but they are among us.

There will be hundreds of Zainabs, Asmas and the innocent girl in this video unless we put an end to child abuse. If you see someone groping a child, stop that person, if you can’t then report him to law enforcement agencies.

When a child is being kidnapped, being touched inappropriately by anyone or walking with a person that they are not comfortable with, do we stop and inquire about the incident or do we go on with our usual tasks, thinking that it’s none of our concern? The collective apathy of the society is a bigger enemy of the children than any child molester can be.

An appropriate example of this can be seen in the ‘groping’ video of the PML-N Senator. Everyone is watching, but no one is speaking. Have we normalized ourselves to child abuse? This blatant indifference can be attributed to the bystander effect. It is a social psychological phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present.

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 Our society needs to believe that all children in the society are our children. Today its Zainab or Asma, tomorrow it could be our own daughters or sisters. If we don’t act for others, no one will act for us. We need to shake off this apathy and develop a genuine resolve to help anyone and everyone in need. The public is the greatest defence against any crime but when that public is cold, indifferent and unconcerned; we cannot hope to eradicate any crime.

That incident resulted in a huge outcry and indignation on social media. That tragedy was followed by a number of other tragedies including the rape and murder of four-year-old Asma in Mardan.

Child abuse and rape is a very underreported crime in our society. The reason for this is honor. People believe that if they report such a horrendous crime, the honor of their family and their child will be lost. Honor is medieval patriarchal concept which has no space in the modern world. If you let an abuser walk free, they’ll abuse other children in the future and this cycle will go on indefinitely. This needs to end now.

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We need to raise our voice in unison and speak up against the atrocities that our children have been through. A society that cannot protect its own children, cannot hope for a bright future. There will be hundreds of Zainabs, Asmas and the innocent girl in this video unless we put an end to child abuse. If you see someone groping a child, stop that person, if you can’t then report him to law enforcement agencies.

The world is divided into good and bad people. The bad people will stay bad, you can’t reason with them to act otherwise and put your children at their mercy and expect benevolence. It is up to the good people to stop them. If our children are not safe then the burden lies on us and no one else. We need to take a stand now.


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