2,321 child sexual abuse cases monitored in 2007 -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

2,321 child sexual abuse cases monitored in 2007

ISLAMABAD – In 2007 as many as 2,321 Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) cases were monitored, the number that has slightly dropped from 2,447 monitored in 2006, said Sahil a non-government organisation working on CSA here on Tuesday.

The Sahil report says that as compared to 2006 there is an increase in reported cases of 4.1 per cent in the boys. “Among 2,321 of total cases 1,612 (69pc) are girls and 709 (31pc) are boys. Male children are less victimised by the crime rather it can be due to a number of reasons”, the report further disclosed.

Sahil report interprets the less cases of male victims as that the boys may accept abuse as sexual experimentation, consider sexual abuse as a part of their process in becoming masculine, not seek help considering it to be a feminine attribute, feel the same family pressures about family honour being at stake.

Sahil releases a yearly statistical report based on child sexual abuse cases reported in the print media. This data is collected with the aim to know the bitter reality. This cruel number publication is in its 6th year. The aim of producing this report is to inform general public and child policy-makers with the incidents of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in Pakistan. It is difficult to measure the prevalence of CSA in our society. Many incidents will never be reported, especially those committed by family members.

Sahil presented the statistical report ‘Cruel Numbers’ for the year 2007, which is based on child sexual abuse cases reported in the 56 national, regional and local dailies. The data also include cases directly received by Sahil, which offers free legal and psychological aid to victims of CSA and other organisations.

The report confirms that there is no safe place for children, because children are victimised in places from their own homes to any place outside it. “Reported cases in the rural areas are significantly higher than those in the urban communities”, the report tells.

In the Sahil report covers mainly five forms of sexual abuse crimes, including abduction for sexual purpose, molestation (which is in the form of attempted rape), rape/sodomy, gangrape/gang sodomy and murder after sexual assault.

“Pakistan has observed much political instability and violence in 2007. Therefore, newspapers may have been unable to give enough coverage to social issues”, the Sahil report doubts. The report further claims that on average if the cases of abduction are excluded, statistics show that 3.9 children are being sexually assaulted per day.

Child sexual abuse should also include cases of verbal sexual abuse, voyeurism, exhibitionism, pornography, touching, fondling, masturbation, oral sex and commercial sexual exploitation. Unfortunately these cases are not reported in the newspapers.

“In 2007, abduction is still found to be the highest among the females as seen in a total of 799 cases. There are 289 molestation cases reported in 2007 where 96 are male and remaining 193 are female. Rape and sodomy exceeds in numbers as compared to all other forms of sexual violations. As many as 505 cases of rape and sodomy are reported in 2007, out of which 213 are males and 292 are females. Out of total 2,321 victims 391 children were gang raped or gang sodomised. It seems that abusers not only lack an individual conscience but also a collective conscience”, the Sahil CSA report revealed further telling, “According to reported cases gang rape/sodomy can involve from 2 to 5 abusers. Out of the total 2,321 victims in 2007, 62 children were murdered after being sexually assaulted”.

The report on abuser’s Categories reveals that there are numerous myths prevalent in our society regarding child sexual abusers, as abusers do not belong to a specific group, age or class status; rather anyone can be an abuser. “One popular myth is that mostly strangers abuse children. However, as can be seen in the data rather most of abusers are acquaintances. Sexual abuse is usually committed by those who have power and control and easy access to children”, says the report.

In 2007, out of a total of 5,144 abusers 3, 449 acquaintances were the major perpetrators of the crime.

People tend to deny sexual abuse by acquaintances because it is a very difficult situation to deal with. Some other images of an abuser are: A child sexual offender is generally perceived as a psychopath, it is thought that abusers are generally poor and illiterate people. “The reason why the number of abusers is double the amount of victims is that in many cases, one victim has had multiple abusers”, the report discloses.

“Strangers are classified in two ways; firstly, if the names of the abusers are unknown to the victim’s family and secondly, if the news report does not mention the abuser identity or profession. In this year 17.49 per cent of the abusers were strangers to the victims. Strangers are usually involved in gang rapes or sodomy”, the Sahil report informs.

The report, telling about the neighbour abuser, says that the neighbours, both male and female, are well known to the child and they have easy access to them. An alarming finding is that there is an increase in the number of neighbour category from 118 in 2006 to 218 this year. This shows more than a 54 per cent increase making them the third highest category of abusers.

“Good reporting is now clearly stating the places of abuse. This year a lot of new places of abuse have been reported.

The data of the report shows that girls are abused for a longer period of time. In cases of abuse from one week to six months 167 female abused, whereas only 43 male have been subjected to a longer period of abuse.

“A predominant number of cases from Punjab have been reported in 2007, with the ratio of 56 per cent. The Federal Capital has shown 6 per cent in the reported cases. The NWFP and Sindh are on 3 per cent and 32 per cent respectively. Balochistan is on 2 per cent and AJK on 1 per cent. A higher number of cases from Punjab are related to its larger population as well as more reporting facilities than in other areas. As far as Balochistan is concerned, there is an increase from the number of 19 cases in 2006 to 46 cases in 2007. These numbers show 42 per cent increase”, the Sahil CSA report divulged.

The report discloses that the cases in the rural communities are more as compared to the urban areas overall. This is directly related to the fact that 70 per cent of the population lives in rural areas. “The statistics also show that rural cases are higher in the Capital, Punjab and Sindh province, whereas in the NWFP and Balochistan the cases from urban areas are higher than rural areas”, the report added.

The report, telling about police registration of cases, says that most of the newspaper reports are verified cases as they are registered with the police. As compared to 2006 a greater number of cases has been reported without the names of the victims.

“Out of the 13 cases of revenge recorded, seven cases are directly due to conflict over marriage proposal. This raises great concerns over the safety of the young girls who have no form of protection within the four walls of their own homes”, the report noted.

“In reported cases, it has also been observed that long time abuse can be in the form of prostitution. In 2007, Sahil identified two female cases of prostitution in which victims are being abused for a long period by different abusers like acquaintances and a large number of strangers”, Sahil report told.
Source: The Nation
Date:2/27/2008