Distorted priorities?

First Appeared On Dawn.com

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How many of us remember the three-year-old girl who was kidnapped, raped and thrown in a sewer, or the 13-year-old boy from Korangi who was gang-raped on Eid-ul-Fitr last year, or the five-year-old girl who was raped, strangled and later recovered from a garbage dump at a ground in Gizri?

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s(HRCP) Annual Report 2009:

968 children, 285 boys and 683 girls were sexually abused. Around 1,404 women murdered, including 647 in the name of ‘honour’. Around 928 women were raped and some 563 committed suicide.

Another survey, conducted by Sahil, an NGO which raises awareness regarding child sexual abuse and exploitation, paints a haunting image:

Out of a total of 1,216 cases reported in six months, 331 boys, whereas 885 girls had been sexually abused, and the percentage of the female cases was 72 per cent as compared to 28 per cent of male cases.”

Rape is grossly under-reported in Pakistan. The culture of silence and shame has been one of the biggest hurdles victims face. It is then a pity that the few, who choose to overlook cultural barriers and gather the courage to come forth, are forced to go through the ordeal for years before justice is served. In most instances, alleged rapists are acquitted due to loopholes in our judicial system, while sometimes the victims are pressurized to withdraw their case. The role of police in such cases has been extremely notorious. For instance, take the case of a 10-year-old boy from Lahore; despite medico-legal reports proving rape had occurred, the police was reluctant to file an FIR against the accused pedophile.

In Khipro, a student of class X was given sedatives and gang-raped but her ordeal wasn’t over. The heinous crime was filmed via a mobile phone camera and the video posted on various websites. In the aftermath of the incident, parents of more than 100,000 students have stopped their daughters from attending schools and colleges.

Even more shocking are reports of an alleged gang of blackmailers comprising boys and girls, from ‘respectable’ families, who have sexually assaulted girls, recorded videos of the victims and used it to blackmail the victim’s parent or posted it on the Internet.

What kind of people would commit such an atrocious crime, film it and upload the videos on the Internet is beyond me. Unfortunately, this is not new phenomenon, such incidences have been reported before. In March 2009, a teenage boy was gang-raped in police custody and the footage distributed over the Internet. Child porn continues to be accessed throughout Pakistan and now,  rape videos have also joined the league yet we see no outrage by these ‘upholders of morals and justice.’ The lack of coverage and public outrage at such incidents is extremely disturbing and worrisome. But then our priorities have been distorted for quite sometime. It is a pity that we live in a country where hundreds will march on the streets, calling for an all out ban on social media platforms because of an isolated incident, while horrifying stories of abuse do not merit our anger. If alarming figures from the HRCP reports and the increasing incidences of rape and abuse of women and children does not bring us back to our senses, I don’t know what will.


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9 thoughts on “Distorted priorities?

  1. is it just me or are we really a sick people? where the police can cart people away and torture or even kill them while in illegal custody, where your lawyers are not there to represent you but to bleed you dry and sell the outcome of the case to the highest bidder, where the judges are afraid for their lives or bought to give a certain verdict, where our children can be abducted and our women used and publicly violated…what has this place come to? who are we? we are the people who hear a man beat his wife senseless or toss a beaker of acid on her face and remain silent; we are the people who watch an accident happen on the road and whip out our camera phones and let the victim die, we are the ones who want everything for nothing all at once. a bunch of pedophile cannibalistic nymphomaniacs. and those are just the decent ones. at least what they do is out in the open. the rest of us just sit and watch. serial killers.

  2. Ah i would commend you for ur job. but I feel with writing about rape also please do write about hunger in Pakistan. Start concentrating on these others coz our leaders are corrupted n jus looking how to make money.

    And also people who call u ahore are i gues stupid n dnt hav ethics n then call themselves muslims. muslims are nt allowed to abuse its against ethics odf islam.

  3. If you’re a girl or a woman, particularly in the “right” age group, you almost definitely know of a relative, friend, friend of a friend or some other acquaintance who got raped or who knows someone who got raped. A lot of us would rather not acknowledge the existence of rape OR that we know someone who got raped–“good” girls don’t let such “impure” things into their lives. In the case of marital rape, even the women refuse to believe they’ve been raped. I’ve known women repeatedly battered and abused in the most disgusting, inhuman ways by their husbands and nobody considered it rape because–apparently–if you’ve married her, you own her body.
    So only 928 women raped? I doubt it. (And that 928 seems like a ‘low’ figure gives an idea of how much worse the situation really is. )

  4. I agree with Omer that we only open our eyes when we see things are at the edge of legal and moral limits. And we also forget things quickly as our collective memories are quiet short.
    Our only hope is now to activate social media for this cause, beside other media outlets (which can easily be silenced) Its not easy to sensor or silence someone at this new media.
    Sana keep slapping us till we awake our moral responsibility of speaking up.

    1. Blogging helps, social media does too. I have been utilizing all and cellular too, since 4 years. But ask yourself, the people we’re talking about, this segment of the society really has access to our blogs, websites and social networks? Are they really literate enough to read our voices here to act upon in real life? Let me tell you a fact, it only helps engaging humanists, those who’d take the lesson and practice in real life. Hardly does anybody would do so and would rather use an easy way out; share ahead the post on twitter or facebook because all it takes is a click or two.

      Of course, humanists and volunteers should be gathered by spreading awareness and then engaging and finally bringing to front-line. We must prepare ourselves and humanists to get involved but on front-line; on grassroots level in deed my friend.

      I know, even less than 1% would go out in to the wild to educate from grassroots level and above, but believe you me, that is the segment we need to address. Consider it a sort of preaching, not religion in particular but the humanitarian extracts, be it from any religion whatsoever- I have experienced- they’re all the same!

      Go out, to mohallas, to masajids, to educational institutions, offer corporates an hour too. It works, quite well in deed.

  5. Child abuse is the most heinous crime
    Even worst than war

    There can be no compassion for child abusers

    Every avenues should explored to push the government to set the necessary structure and force to protect children from abuse

    Even the most unthinkable

  6. An issue, esp. of such sort only catches an eye when media airs it; Sialkot Lynching for example. How quickly have we forgotten those women brutally beaten and put to dogs, alive, and then buried, alive again? For we didn’t get to see a video of this ‘event’ that could leave a mark. We don’t feel pain of several thousands who get tortured, rapped and butchered every year. We do need awaken the morality within, call a spade a spade and take an evil as an evil whether or not propagated or bombarded through media.
    Nice write-up, keep highlighting but also please consider the society’s role. We’re human ourselves and we need to remain humane whether or not authorities or politicians take notice of wrong-doings. All we have observed the youth and civil society to do at their level best is to protest; gather a couple of dozens on signals, block roads, hurdle traffic and do nothing more than protesting. Sana, my view about that is, we should rather put our energies towards healing the society; us within! We need to address the issues, tailor literature and ways that help educating people so the evil within could be cured. We surely need to take out positive and constructive actions today so to keep our children safe in the motherland tomorrow!

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