violence against children in Pakistan

violence against children in Pakistan

In our society, violence against children is still believed to be widespread in Pakistan. Children face corporal punishment in schools and madrassahs; they face physical, emotional, and occasionally  abuse in their homes or workplaces; or they risk becoming victims of trafficking. Children are unaware that what is happening with them, they don?t even know about their rights. They are abused very badly which some times lead towards death. Contrary to what people may think, a person who abuses a child is usually not someone with a psychiatric disorder. They are usually indistinguishable from anyone else. They may have emotional problems that increase their potential to abuse.  In fact, a person who abuses is a normal person who is often known to the victim. Most people imagine that the offender must be a shadowy and frightening stranger. In reality, these abusers can be anyone, ranging from family members to acquaintances and someone, maybe a victim himself.

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There are many organizations that are working for the rights of children. Considering that, a child is supposed to be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity. The child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth. Today, Worldwide children are facing exceptionally difficult circumstances that in returns make them worthy of special consideration. Under the article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan, all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse are stressed upon, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programs to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child. It also includes other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described and for judicial involvement.

You trust explicitly but rarely are abusers complete strangers.
 According to a report of an NGO working for children rights, one thousand cases of physical abuse and 826 cases of sexual abuse against children were reported in 2008. The cases included 623 child murders, 383 rapes, 277 sodomy rapes, 254 severe injuries, 110 attempted rape or sodomy cases and 55 torture incidents. Out of 1826 cases, 975 were against boys while 851 girls were abused. The data showed that over half the cases were reported in Punjab, 588 in Sindh, 101 in the NWFP, and 50 in Balochistan. 252 cases of child abuse were reported in Karachi, 175 in Lahore, 50 in Peshawar, 24 in Sargodha, 23 in Sukkur, 39 in Vehari, 35 in Faisalabad, 29 in Larkana and 20 cases in Bahawalpur.
Pakistani NGO SPARC (Society for Protection of the Rights of the Child) in its report states that an amount of $225 million has been earmarked to modernize 8,000 madrassas over three years. The modernization program as hoped, could also help spread consciousness about AIDS. Yet, the same report says 14 per cent of all child-abusers in 2007 were clerics. SPARC activists cite two specific cases to illustrate sexual abuse of children and their brutality in religious seminaries.
Child abuse in seminaries often involves physical torture. As in the case of 11-year-old Atif, brutally assaulted at a seminary in Faisalabad. He is currently undergoing a treatment at the Children's Hospital in Lahore. On May 1, 2008, he was quoted saying, "The teacher wanted to set an example for the children by punishing me as I dared to escape from the daily routine of beatings at the seminary." Once nabbed, he was chained and detained in a room at the seminary; Maulvi Mahboob Alam then beat him severely with an iron rod. The hospital's treatment note said that the boy was brought in with a head injury and bruises all over the body. Atif's case came to light following the intervention of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

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Both men and women can be abusers. They do not come from any specific class, but in fact can be from any occupation, and may share the same leisure interests that other people have. It is not necessary that a child abuser be illiterate or poor. It is also not necessary that the abuser has to be a psychologically disturbed person. The abuser may also have been abused in his/her childhood. Such a person with emotional problems follows chronically displaced sexual arousal patterns in which he/she is attracted to children or to violence. Abusers approach children who are neglected or those who have run away from home. They also tend to approach those children who are uninformed about their going on physical changes. Child abusers tend not to admit their acts. They either deny them all together, or admit the minimum possible and blame the victims or other outside variables for the act. Abusers are usually guiltier about disclosure, rather than their behavior. Thus, the cycle that follows is of a person who commits an assault, feels guilty and then assaults all over again when control fails.
Offenders are 100 percent responsible for their actions. No victim shares responsibility for the offender's actions. Each of us bears sole responsibility for ensuring that our contact with others is consensual and non harmful. Our communities share responsibility for ensuring that each of us adheres to this standard. Until no one is willing to commit any crime, the entire community will be responsible for safety from potential offenders. This "community" consists of the criminal justice system, sex offenders? counselors, health care agencies, educational institutions, therapists, clergy, friends and family.

Source: The Nation

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