Friday Jan 12, 2018
The brutal rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur is not a one-off incident. Child sexual abuse statistics paint a grim picture of our society – as many as 11 cases of child sexual abuse are reported from across Pakistan every day, according to data collected by non-governmental organisation Sahil.
Children are most vulnerable, least powerful, and least likely to be able to protect themselves from abusers. Child abusers often know how to emotionally manipulate their intended victims, gaining their trust well in advance of the actual abuse.
Here are some simple, every day actions that you can take as parents to help prevent child abuse:
--Accompany your children outdoors, or ask a trusted member of the family to accompany your children in case you cannot.
--Keep an eye out for your children, monitor their whereabouts.
--If you have a caretaker/domestic help at home, don’t leave your children alone with them. Submit details of the caretaker/housemaid to your nearest police station as a precaution.
--Designate a place for the children to play in. Make sure a parent/guardian of at least one of the children is present at the venue and keeping a watchful eye. Also, set a particular play time for the children. If they want to play for longer, make sure a trusted individual is present with them.
--Don’t allow your children to enter strangers’ houses, including neighbours you don’t know.
--Don’t allow strangers inside your house/area/locale.
--Don’t send your children to the shops/markets alone.
--Talk to your children about abuse. Teach them about the good touch and the bad touch.
--Tell your children to report any inappropriate touch to you immediately.
--Tell your children to shout and say ‘Don’t touch me!’ if they feel uncomfortable with any touch.
According to the latest numbers released by Sahil, an organisation that works on child protection with a special focus on sexual abuse, a total of 1,764 cases of child abuse were reported from across the country in the first six months of 2017 alone.
Of all cases, 15 percent of the crimes were committed at the victim's own place, while 12 percent were said to have taken place at an acquaintance’s place.
Statistics from another social awareness organisation Aahung show that as many as 47 per cent of child sexual abuse incidents are perpetrated by the relatives of the child. Around 43 per cent of the perpetrators are acquaintances of the child, while only seven per cent are strangers.
It’s time to empower your children to be brave and safe. Talk now.