“I have a tragic history of child molestation and sexual abuse.”
“I grew up with three elder sisters, and had no brother. My parents decided to hire a boy to help us with household work. My parents admitted him to school as well, took care of his basic necessities while he served us for years.” Ayesha (named changed) told TLP.
“That boy, who was older than me, used to touch and rub my breasts and say ‘So yeah, you are growing up.’ This used to happen regularly when nobody was around.”
On inquiring why didn’t she talk to anybody in her family or friends, Ayesha said “I always felt uncomfortable. Being a shy and quiet child I was unable to talk to any of my sisters or mother. Life went on…”
“One day when everybody was sleeping, he hugged me from behind and wrapped his arms around my neck. I could feel his penis against my body. I was still a child, and didn’t know what exactly was going on. But it didn’t feel good. He rubbed his penis against my backside for almost five minutes. I wanted to get rid of him; I tried to free myself but he had held me real tight. I even cried and asked him to leave me alone. But he didn’t. After a few minutes, he did let me go.”
“I went through a mental trauma after this incident. I knew something was wrong because I didn’t feel good about it. But I didn’t know how to react. I have never told this to anybody. Ever. I don’t feel guilty about not speaking about it because I think I was a child and I didn’t know how to react. But it makes me sad to think that child abuse can be prevented at a very early stage. Only if I knew what to do…”
Ayesha’s case is not the only story of child molestation in our society. There are thousands of such cases that have never been reported. Child abuse cases are taking alarming proportions and adversely affecting the individuals, families as well as the whole society.
According to the media reports,the “cruel numbers” say that some 3.002 sexual abuse cases were reported in 2013 and 3,508 in 2014 from across the country while many go unreported.
The latest child abuse case reported from Kasur, Punjab tells that some 380 children, including girls, have been sexually abused since 2009 but neither any victim nor their families reported the case earlier with police or media.
In such most severe cases, sexually abused children, if survived, are found with severe physical injuries, bleeding or unconsciousness. They may also experience guilt, shame and self-blame, hence damaging the child’s personality.
Experts say that there are various factors that trigger sexual assaults on children. Poverty, inflation, illiteracy, unemployment and even terrorism are the key factors that that create frustration amongst adults, who take it out on children, as a little chance of entertainment.
The children get abused mostly in rural areas, where literacy is low and poverty is high. But abuse also happens in the elite and lower middle classes.
Parents of children in the elite class usually hold high office and have a busy lifestyle. They do not have time for their children. Since small children are enticed, they get easily sexually assault by their relatives, friends or even male servants.
In the lower middle class, the family is integrated, many people share the same house, and parents are usually illiterate. Hence there is a high chance of children being sexually abused by their closed ones.
The Logical Pakistani believes that this deeply rooted problem requires a multi-dimensional, multi- sector response. Hence, sex education at an early age is an investment in our children’s future and at the core of any such policy response must be comprehensive sex education program in our schools. It helps young people gain a positive view of sexuality and to provide them with developmentally appropriate knowledge and skills so that they can make healthy decisions about their sex lives now and in the future. They tend to learn how to prevent sexual violence in our communities.