Karachi: A feeling of panic grew among the parents in Pakistan’s largest commercial city Karachi as six-year old girl Savera became a victim of sexual abuse, says Zia Ahmed Awan a founder member “Madadgaar Helpline”.

According to police and medical reports, Savera was abducted and raped, later found brutally injured from sewerage drain of city.

Pakistan is facing a hike in cases of child sexual abuse (CSA). The number of such crime has increased by 36 per cent during the first half of 2016 compare to previous year 2015, reveals a research by Sahil, an Islamabad based non-governmental organization.

Sahil is a research organization, which monitor all forms of violence against children in country.

Zia Ahmed Awan viewed poverty, illiteracy, weak legislation and poor action by authorities as basic causes of CSA in Pakistan. He argued that reducing or controlling cases of CSA is quite impossible without removal of basic causes in country, he added.

“Save the Children” Published, a research by author ‘Cath Slugget’ in 2003 titled, “Mapping Psychosocial support for girls and boys affected by child sexual abuse in four countries in South and Central Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.” The study pointed out to the lack of research in developing countries particularly in Pakistan regarding CSA. The statistics indicated that 44 per cent children among the affectees, become victims of CSA due to poverty. The report hence alluded to the fact that poverty may have been seen major contributing factor to child sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse is complex issue in Pakistan, where tremendous reserve is practiced about discussing issues pertaining to sexuality in the society. Educational System does not permit also to discuss the issue of CSA in Pakistan.

A recent study, Cruel Numbers, by non-profit organisation, Sahil, reveals that more than 10 children are being abused in Pakistan daily. The year 2016 annual report by the organisation claims that as many as 2127 cases of CSA were reported during January to June 2016 in the country. Figures corroborate that the incidents of CSA have snowballed in 2016 by 36 per cent from those collected in January to June 2015.

Usually, victims of CSA belong to slum area where parents have less time for their children, says Media Manager Sahil, Mumtaz Ali Gohar. He added that poverty and illiteracy are the major causes of CSA in the country. Children wander alone in slum areas and risk becoming victims of CSA, as in Savera’s case, he added.

According to the police report, Savera was abducted nearby her house and raped later. Her neck was gashed, possible the culprits left her dead in sewerage drain, says police. “She was abducted while wandering around her house,” said her father Shabeer Hussain. Savera’s parents live in Korangi, one of the localities in slum areas of the largest commercial city Karachi.

Savera’s father reported that she is well and stable now, however he deplored the lack of progress to arrest the culprits. Savera’s incident terrified the whole family and residents of locality, he added.

He has no hope regarding arrest of culprits.

Dr Sumera Aziz Ali Senior instructor in Aga Khan University did research along with Dr Savera Aziz “Child Sexual Abuse leads to Psychological disorders” in 2014, http://www.mednifico.com/index.php/elmedj/article/view/317. She reaffirmed that their research findings revealed that most victims of CSA belong to slum area and poor family. Eighty per cent cases of CSA are not reported in Pakistan, it is another painful than others, she said.

Among its recommendations the research suggested an integrated approach to be focused on teacher, parents and medical professionals to resolve the issue of CSA, but it hasn’t been taken its course in Pakistan. Ali’s research also proposed the Government to adopt legislation on CSA, awarding stern action against the culprits.

According to Ali CSA damages our nation’s future, because children build the nation and they are unsafe in country; these incidents also cripple the victim’s family socially and economically, she added.

Statistics obtained from Sahil’s “Cruel Numbers” report indicate that gang sodomy is on the rise by 71 per cent; attempts of rape have increased by 61 per cent; sodomy has shot up by 46 per cent and; cases of rape have soared by 20 per cent as compare to the data from the first half of 2015.

The report indicates that the highest number of cases occurred in Punjab, while Sindh is second with 24%. The reported cases from Sindh increased to 77 per cent and; 66 per cent cases grew in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as compared to the data from Jan-Jun 2015. Ali confirms that CSA is rising annually in Pakistan because no stern action has been taken against culprits and no policy has allowed to evolve to curb the CSA.

Another report, “A Five year Analysis” of ‘Sahil’ from 2007 to 2011 revealed the unfortunate continuous ascending trend in child sexual abuse in Pakistan. According to data of “Five years analysis” the 2331 incidents of CSA happened during 2007, while rise in CSA continued till 2011, excluding the year 2008.

The data Analysis shows that CSA increased by 9.4 per cent during 2009 and by 10 per cent in 2010. CSA mounted to 17 per cent in 2012 compared to 2011 in Pakistan.

Awan said that CSA is a serious issue in Pakistan, in order to prevent it the government should act boldly and announce an emergency in the country, otherwise rise in CSA will continue. He said that earlier the crime wasn’t reported widely but during 2016 it looks positive, 897 women and children from across Pakistan came forward and fought for protection by calling, visiting or contacting their organization.

He stated that, only 10 per cent cases of violence are being reported in the media in Sindh and Punjab with even less reporting from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“An inefficient social justice system is the reason for different forms of violence in Pakistan,” said Awan. He suggested stern action by special courts in lower judiciary of the country to accelerate the cases against culprits of CSA.

It is too difficult to overcome CSA without removal of its basic causes; Government of Sindh is belligerent to remove issues related to children including CSA, said Dr. Sikander Ali Mendhro provincial minister Sindh for parliamentary affairs and health. He added that the provincial assembly completed the legislation to overcome the issues but work still needs to be done.

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