A young girl was raped when she was sent to buy groceries in Kotnajibullah village on Monday.
Shabana*, five, had gone to buy groceries from a store in the neighbourhood, where she was assaulted by the shopkeeper’s son, police sources said. The girl returned home in tears and informed her parents, who reported the case to the police. The child was taken for a medical examination.
A lady doctor at the Women and Children Hospital confirmed that the girl had been sexually assaulted.
The police registered a criminal case under section 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and arrested the accused. However, when enquired why the rapist was not registered under the Child Protection and Welfare Act 2010 (CPWA), the police expressed their ignorance about the law.
Talking to The Express Tribune, a police officer, requesting not to be named, said that in cases of sexual abuse of a boy, the police usually register a case under section 377 of PPC, which deals with unnatural offence, while in cases of sexual abuse of a girl an FIR is registered under section 376. Both these sections are applicable to adults but due to ignorance, the police rarely include the relevant sections from CPWA in the FIR, he said.
A perpetrator found guilty may be sentenced to a minimum of seven and a maximum of 14 years in prison, with a fine no less than Rs1 million under section 53 of the CPWA. Cases of sodomy are mostly registered under the PPC as well, which are not exclusive to children.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa CPWA, which was enacted in September 2010, defines the word “sexual abuse” as employing, using, forcing, persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing any child to engage in, or assisting any other person to engage in obscene or sexually explicit conduct or stimulation of such conduct either independently or in conjunction with other acts, with or without the child’s consent.
Name has been changed to protect identity
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2012.