Heal someone’s world


Picture courtesy Reuters

In 2009, about 3 Pakistani children were sexually abused every day. A total of 2,012 reported cases of child sexual abuse were recorded from all over Pakistan. To lend perspective to that figure revealed this year by the non government organisation Sahil, let me add some numbers. Child abuse is a global phenomenon. As the Sahil report points out, the Human Rights Watch World Report 2008 says that 150 million girls and 73 million boys around the world have experienced rape or other sexual violence. Most of it was perpetrated by members of their own family. The statistic does not necessarily mean there were more girls abused although it is probable; it could indicate that many cases of abuse against boys go unreported, ironically, also for reasons of pride and honour.

Coming back to Pakistan and the Sahil report of last year, the type of abusers with the highest percentage was that of acquaintances at 81 percent. The most vulnerable age group is from 11 to 15 years, while the second highest is 6 to 10. I just want to point out that these figures are as reported in newspapers. We cannot be sure of how many cases go unreported to the police, media, or even guardians. Everyone knows that due to the shame attached to the act, abused children commonly blame themselves and remain silent. Given that look again at the figure — 28 percent of child abuse cases reported in Pakistan were of rape and sodomy. 15 percent were gang raped and gang sodomized.

I began thinking of this because of an e-campaign against child abuse that was meant to last till December 6, but became shrouded in rumours and controversy. I came to know of the project (before the rumours and controversy) while following the tweets of a young American Pakistani blogger – as she describes herself – named Mehreen Kasana. While people argued on the virtues of changing the display picture that is representative of your profile on social networking site, Facebook, she spent the day at a government school teaching children how to draw, for if you see her blog, you would know that doodles are her passion and humour is her tool. She went on to say, “Help children to draw, write and read. If they’ve been abused, give them the time and space for catharsis. You can heal someone’s world.”

Now I realise the limitations of Twitter, and I understand the problem with preaching to the choir and so on, but what I know from experience is that child abuse does not know class, race or religion. There is child abuse everywhere, and it is important to listen when young voices like that of Mehreen Kasana speak out against it. As I was saying to a friend the other day, we all know that ‘No’ is the most frequently used word in the English language, but the way the world and its people are progressing, it seems that ‘No’ may soon be ousted by ‘Whatever.’ I find it heartening to see a young person choose the former.

2 Responses to “Heal someone’s world”

  1. 1 Manfred

    ‘lo Ms. Naveen!

    This blog was a treat to read mainly due to the fact that I’ve been working on how to help child abuse victims recuperate in UK as well as shortly in Pakistan. I’m in Lahore at the moment – AIESEC’s kept me busy. Just wanted you to know that it’s always helpful to know there are people in this world who still care.

    Plus Mehreen Kasana’s blog is awesome, in very simple words. She’s got the energy and the brains to keep people amused as well enlightened about the society. And her doodles are hilarious. Keep it up, Naqvi and Kasana! 🙂

  1. 1 Tweets that mention Heal someone’s world « Naveen Naqvi -- Topsy.com

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