There is an epidemic of sexual and physical abuse of children and women in the country. A lot of children and women are being subjected to violence in their homes and at workplaces at the hands of parents, close relatives, husbands and their in-laws. Children are treated harshly by their employers too. According to an NGO, as many as 1,896 children have been physically and sexually abused in the past six months in various parts of the country. The number is likely to be higher as most cases of child abuse go unreported mainly due to society’s indifference to such issues.
The sexual abuse of females and boys is much talked about on public platforms. However, the community seems to have accepted physical abuse of boys as a harsh reality of life, so not much can be done to prevent it and to punish the perpetrators whether they are parents, other family members or employers. Children are severely beaten by parents and employers; they are given insufficient food and rest or are altogether deprived of food and comfort. Children working as domestic servants in homes and as helpers at auto workshops, restaurants and other such places are treated inhumanly. They work long hours for measly wages. Parents force their children to work in order for them to contribute to the family. Life becomes a hell particularly for children having a step-father or step-mother. In most cases, men and women cruelly treat their step-children. They often beat these children, keep them hungry and subject them to other kinds of torture for no reason.
It is unlawful to employ children below the age of 15, but the law is being flagrantly violated. Experts say the law exists on paper only as there is no proper platform to report sexual abuse of children and their bad treatment by family members and employers. Children, like adult citizens, have their rights guaranteed in the Constitution. But how many children and adults are aware of their rights?
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2021.
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