The number of children who are sexually abused in Pakistan has registered an alarming increase this year. According to the report of an NGO, 1216 children were victim to sex abuse in the first six months of this year (January-June 2010).
This is even more than the total number of cases reported during all twelve months of 2009. That figure was 968. The majority of this year’s cases were reported in Punjab and the perpetrators were acquaintances, neighbours or relatives of the children. In most cases, the victims are girls from rural areas.
The most common place for occurrence of child sex abuse is the perpetrator’s residence. According to Sahil’s report, the facts and figures have been collected from news published in 65 different newspapers of the country.
The report said, “We believe that the number of incidents presented in the print media do not represent the total numbers of such incidents in Pakistan-because such issues are taboo and not easily reported.”
The report revealed out of the 1216 children sexually abused in this time period, 331 were boys and 885 girls.
“Tragically, 81 per cent of ‘abusers’ were people known to the victim or their family, whereas the rest of 19 per cent were strangers” the report continued to reveal. The said number of children were abused by a total of 2425 perpetrators.
Data suggests that children between 11 to 15 years of age are most vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Almost 75 per cent of the cases reported were in Punjab, followed by 18 per cent in Sindh. Only 27 per cent of child sex abuse cases were from urban areas. The remaining 73 per cent were reported in rural areas.
While these incidents occur in a wide variety of places like open fields, the street, canal side, gardens and even graveyards etcetera, the most common places were either the victim or the perpetrator’s own houses. In 64 per cent of the cases, children were subjected to one-time abuses. Of all the cases printed in these newspapers, the authenticity of 82 per cent was supported by police registering cases against the accused.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2010.