A media report has given harrowing details about violence against women and children. Reportedly, in the month of July, 133 women were kidnapped, 133 physically assaulted, 85 were raped while 108 cases of sexual abuse of children took place. Most of these cases were reported in Punjab. Violence against women and children, the weak and vulnerable, is widespread and is often carried out in silence. These cases do not come to light and when victims talk about it they are intimidated or asked to remain silent. Why is there no end to heinous crimes against women and children? Law enforcers must be made to investigate these despicable crimes and catch the culprits.
The cases of violence against the vulnerable segment of society reveal the depths of depravity that lurk just underneath the facade of normality in our society. The tragedy reveals that there is a deep seated attitudinal problem in Pakistani society when it comes to abuse cases. There is a great discomfort and inability for many when it comes to acknowledging that such a grave occurrence is commonplace in Pakistan; not only that but the fact that most of the victims are abused not by strangers but by close relatives is something that falls of deaf ears.
One could be forgiven for trying to look for a silver lining in the sordid affair by hoping that at long last the public, the media and the political class would be jolted into coming face to face with Pakistani society’s disfigured underbelly and proactive actions would be taken to redress the state’s abysmal and heart wrenching neglect of ensuring the safety of its most vulnerable segment of population, the children and women. However, not even an ounce of introspection over the permissiveness for the abusive perversions of the rich and powerful by institutionally complicit law enforcement agencies is evident nor is any movement to unpack the dangerous reluctance of the wider society to engage in productive discussion about uncomfortable realities started. Instead, we bore witness to political backlash and nothing else.
The increasing frustration in society, general and sexual, as well as unhealthy trends are behind such crime proclivities. There is little or no assurance that any real deterrence would be put into place to prevent any such incident from happening again. The presence of such gangs of criminals who have been committing horrendous acts is a black stain on society.
The elimination of this social evil needs long term measures. The prevention of violence is the responsibility of both the government and society. An overall awareness campaign is needed to educate society about the existence of this heinous tendency. For its part, the government is required to take bold steps for purging society of this evil. In order to reduce the risk of sexual abuse, there is a need to minimise opportunity that could provide an enabling environment for committing such crimes. Proper monitoring of places potentially prone to such incidents is necessary. The government should introduce detailed laws and policies to address the issue. The victims should be encouraged not to conceal abuse. Rather they should be motivated to report the crime so that the culprits could be brought to justice and an example set for future offenders.