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Screams that were muffled

Wafa Naz

Child abuse is one of the most emerging issues of modern day world. Especially male child abuse is on the peak in busy streets of Lahore and Karachi. For a time being child abuse is reported in small number but now it has reached to an infinite limit.

According to WHO, “Child abuse includes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity”. (Wikipedia)

Our children are not safe. Our youth is not safe and out future is not also safe. Nevertheless, the issue did not receive widespread attention by the general public until 1962. But today it is the matter of great debate.

Child abuse has variety of forms that is deeply rooted in our society. Many of the people are even not aware of male child abuse. Many consider it not possible and many deny from the reality.

According to the latest numbers released by Sahil, an organization that works on child protection with a special focus on sexual abuse, a total of 1,764 cases of child abuse were reported from across the country in the first six months of 2017 alone.According to data from Sahil, out of the total cases of child abuse from January to June 2017, 62 percent were reported from Punjab. 27 percent of cases reported were from Sindh province, while 76, 58, 42, and nine cases reported from Balochistan, FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir respectively (Sahil, NGO).

All the above statistics are from the cases which were reported. Many of the cases go ignored and unreported. Many people consider it as a slap on their self-esteem. Many consider it against the moral values. Many people don’t listen to their children and many even don’t respond. This is all, society and parents are responsible for. We have failed as a society.

Male children are neglected everywhere. From the very small age they are set free to work or to roam on streets. They can’t cry because they are men. They can’t express themselves because they are men. They don’t need any protection because they are men. How a male child can be raped. How he can be abused? He needs no protection because he can protect himself.

To get rid from this harsh crime, we have to perform our responsibilities. Our responsibilities as parents, teachers, students, siblings, social activists, society and as a nation.

One of the major reasons is inter-parental violence. Children start to hide their feelings and problems from their parents. They become pessimist and start to seek sympathies and attention from strangers. Most of the time friends of not the same age use the innocent children to fulfil their lust. This all leads to child abuse.

We should build up a system in place that holds teachers more possessive. School teachers can prove as effective role models for children who come from backward households where the home environment is not ideal due to lack of education, awareness and socioeconomic conditions. But unto most of the cases our teachers are often found responsible in these crimes against our children.

Being elder siblings and as a society we should keep an eye on our surroundings. We should listen patiently to our young children. We should take actions against these voracious acts. At age five, teach children that private parts are now called the No Touch Zone.

There is not any good touch or bad touch. There is only no touch. The No Touch Zone is from the waist to the knees, all the way around, and includes the chest area for a girl.

Parent(s) should create a permission list which includes the child, parent(s), and some selective others who may touch the No Touch Zone, but no one else must have permission.

Anyone not on the list who attempts to touch the No Touch Zone is told by the child: “You are not allowed to touch me there,” or “I am not allowed to touch you there.”The child is instructed to tell his/her parent(s) immediately who attempted to touch the forbidden area.

These are the things which we should start to do at personal level. So that the screams that were muffled would not be muffled anymore.

The writer of this article is a student of Institute of Communication Studies, University of Punjab, Lahore. She can be reached at wafanaz39@gmail.com.

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