3 children sexually abused daily in 2004: report
ISLAMABAD, March 05,2005: On average three children were sexually abused daily during the year 2004, a report launched by an NGO said. The report titled “Cruel Numbers” presents statistics based on cases reported in 27 newspapers last year.
It said as many as 1,549 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in national dailies. However, the report said, a total of 1,567 cases of child sexual abuse occurred in 2004. Out of the total, 373 (24 per cent) were boys and 1,194 (76 per cent) were girls. This shows that females are more vulnerable, they are seen as sex objects and also considered means of settling outstanding scores with rivals, it added.
The report underlined that this figure did not represent the total number of such incidents in the country because such issues were considered taboo and not easily reported. Resultantly, any attempt to quantify the issue of child sexual abuse is bound to be limited in scope.
According to the report, child sexual abuse occurs when an adult or adolescent uses a child for sexual purposes. It involves exposing a child to any sexual activity or behaviour. It is betrayal of trust and an abuse of power over children.
Given the shame and silence that surrounds child sexual abuse in the country, newspapers are one of the few tools that can be used to establish prevalence and occurrence of child sexual abuse.
Mainly five forms of sexual abuse crimes were identified to record information. These include abduction for sexual purposes, molestation, rape/sodomy, gang rape/sodomy and murder after sexual assault.
Of the reported cases, there were 661 cases of abduction, 177 of molestation, eight of molestation murder, 364 of rape/sodomy, 58 of rape/sodomy murder, 264 of gang rape/sodomy and 35 of gang rape/sodomy murder.
The report also underlined that cases of voyeurism, child pornography and commercial sexual exploitation were not reported and kept hidden.
About the age of victims, the report said that it was divided into four categories, i.e five years and below, six to 10 years, 11 to 15 years, and 16 to 18 years.
There are numerous myths prevalent in the society regarding child abusers. One popular myth is that mostly strangers abuse children. In the year 2004, there were a total of 2,876 abusers who sexually assaulted 1,567 children. The report noted that acquaintances were the major perpetrators of the crime.