Time to Think about Child Abuse, not just clamor for Public Hangings

The brutal rape and murder of an 8-year old have led to demands for public hanging of killers and rapists as if that is the solution to such crimes. If military courts are the answer to terrorism, and lynching the answer to blasphemy then surely public hanging will help cleanse Pakistani society.

No one wants to stop and think that according to reports by Pakistani civil society organizations, on average 11 children were abused per day. In 2016, 4139 cases of sexual abuse were reported by Pakistan’s newspapers, a ten percent increase over 2015. And this is only those that were reported! And of course, no wants to discuss the root causes of these crimes.

Instead as Cyril Almeida points out the ‘outrage machine’ is “on fire and in overdrive.” And so “the rage — total rage — once activated was only going to go in ever more dangerous, more unhinged directions. APS brought hangings back. So this time it had to be a hanging plus. Hang him in the street outside her home. Hang him in a public square. The biggest one you can find. Hang him in a stadium. The biggest one you can find. Build a new stadium if there isn’t one big enough.”

Raza Rumi, asks why “a tragedy that should have been a wake up call for the country and how we raise children at homes, schools and madaris” has instead “turned into a sordid game for political elites and a rating contest for mainstream electronic media. Once again, a historic opportunity for reform has been squandered.”

Here is more from Rumi’s piece

“When Zainab’s story came into public light, every Pakistani was horrified especially those who are parenting young children. That sexual abuse of children is a part of people’s lives came as an ugly reminder. Celebrities opened up in public arenas recounting the horrors of being abused as children. Earlier, the Kasur child pornography scandal shook the public in a similar fashion but nothing came out of it in terms of setting things right. One hoped that with the outrage and protest over Zainab’s murder things would turn out to be different. But they didn’t.”

“From 2011 to 2016 a total of 19,508 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in the country. This is where the media could have played a constructive role. Instead, mainstream media covered the Zainab story while ignoring all ethics of journalism. Zainab’s parents were blamed for their negligence, his brother was scolded for not protecting his sister and the list goes on. A bereaved family found itself in the midst of rating sharks coping with an uninvited onslaught. The images of dead Zainab have only brutalised us and not helped the cause for child protection.”

 

Author: Shaista Sindhu

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Author: Shaista Sindhu