Apathy towards sexual violence
In India, the Delhi gang-rape case brought the whole country on the streets against sexual violence, but even the most barbaric cases of sexual abuse, rape and forced pornography of over 200 children in Kasur have not forced either our state or society to work towards preventing such violence.
And not only have we done little to curb this menace, we do not even have systems in place to facilitate the reporting of such cases. In Karachi, the number of reported cases of sexual violence is over 70 per cent less than the number of cases registered at hospitals.
This is a startling difference, with the number of cases received at hospitals 516 compared to a mere 122 police reports between January 2015 to June 2016. These figures were released recently by the NGO War Against Rape.
The statistics also reveal an increase of seven per cent in the registration of child sexual abuse cases with an average of 10 children sexually exploited daily in 2015.
While parliament appears to be more than eager to pass legislation that curtails people’s rights as is apparent in the case of the new cybercrime law, it delays important legislation such as the rape prevention laws.
The anti-rape laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill 2014 was passed by the Senate in March last year.
Since then, the National Assembly has failed to pass it. Parliament must move forward with the law to ensure safety and protection to survivors who bravely step forward and report their plight.
It is also essential to better educate our prosecutors, police officers and medical legal officers, and have psychologists and counsellors for individuals who have suffered such trauma.
As things stand, children, the most vulnerable group in society, are subjected to violence on a daily basis with little accountability and criminal penalty for perpetrators.
With a negligible number of FIRs filed, sex offenders remain amongst us and around our children. Our institutions need to start taking the plight of those at the receiving end of such heinous crimes seriously. Their apathy is inexcusable.