The brutal act of rape reported from Sanghar is, very sadly, not terribly unusual. Crimes similar to it have taken place before; they will take place again — and again — unless we put remedial measures in place. So far, as a society, we have failed to do so despite the multiple cases of rape reported from around the country on an almost daily basis. The precise number is hard to determine, with a large number not reported by victims because of the social stigma attached to the offence.
The latest case is especially harrowing. A cleaner has confessed to repeatedly raping a mentally handicapped 13-year-old girl over a period of several months. The girl is now being tested to determine if she may be pregnant. The culprit was arrested after the girl’s brother saw him and raised the alarm. Outrage in the area is great. But of course, this comes too late to alleviate the tremendous trauma the child must have suffered, with her helplessness in the situation adding to the brutality of the crime. There is more. The cleaner has said he committed the act only after seeing a person he describes as the ‘haji’s son’, engaged in it. It is as yet unclear who this person may be. But from the title given, we can guess the individual could be an influential one, confident he could get away with a crime committed against the daughter of a widow. We must hope of course that the police will not allow this to happen. All those involved in this heinous act against a minor must be brought to justice under the law. When the wealthy or powerful are involved, this holds doubly true. It is important that the ongoing investigation be completed, the facts determined and no attempt made to cover up the names of those involved. It is essential to set the right precedent and try to curb such crimes in the future. As things stand right now, the risk is that they will not be stopped and we will, in the months ahead, read reports of other such cases, which have taken place in other parts of the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2014.
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