A sickening photomontage started making rounds on social media earlier this week. On one hand, a man garlanded with currency notes stood triumphantly outside the Khairpur district jail. However, sending shockwaves across the nation, the other half featured him in a very graphic screenshot of a video of alleged sodomy. The heart-wrenching lines of sorrow and despair etched around the victim’s eyes would move even the most stone-hearted. That the moustached man disbursing money among children was celebrating his acquittal after being caught sexually abusing minors spread like wildfire. When contacted, Sorath Sindhu, one of the first people to tweet about this incident, added to the disgust factor by mentioning the accused’s profession. Sarang Sher was a retired school teacher whose sexual scandals were the talk of the small town. “He runs a tuition centre in Khairpur and is a chronic abuser,” she added. The sickening videos that could be easily found on the internet had also been uploaded by him on several porn sites. Videotaping his crimes was what added to the thrill, the activist noted. The accused had been arrested on July 17, 2020, after one such video caught the attention of the locals. Parents of two children allegedly abused by him took their complaints to Thari Mirwah Police Station where two First Information Reports were registered on rape charges and under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997. There are also reports of him encouraging his students to commit sodomy themselves. However, there was no information initially available as to why the gory details managed to snake their way into the limelight again. The newly-inducted National Commissioner on the Rights of Child Ayesha Raza Farooq took it upon herself to immediately jump to the frontline and called for the respective case file. It was revealed that the retraction of a victim’s statement had led to the acquittal. According to local sources, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge-IV Khairpur had acknowledged an out-of-court settlement between the teacher and the victim’s father. There were also some speculations regarding the admissibility of the video evidence. Ms Farooq, however, did not stop at fact-finding and wrote to the Inspector-General Sindh to “investigate the matter afresh.” The NCRC also contacted Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui for filing an appeal through the prosecutor-general. In a telephonic interview with Daily Times, she pledged her resolve to work apolitically for children all over the country and ensure that justice is served. “My mandate is to inquire into the violation of the child rights guaranteed by the Rights of Child Act 2017 and I would not let any housekeeping issues to come in the way.” The fact that she passionately sought access to the challan and investigation report in order to make an effective appeal to the Sindh government merely hours after the tweet went viral spoke volumes about her determination to the cause. Hard work does pay off as Mr Wahab recently tweeted, “#SindhGovt will be filing appeal as soon as written judgment is issued. So far just a short order acquitting Sarang Shar, clearly shown to be molesting the child in a video, has been announced by the court. Chairman Bilawal is also following up on this issue. Will keep all posted” He even noted how the said settlement had no bearing on the proceedings of the case because “there is DNA evidence and video of the offence is also available.” “The court should have proceeded with the case as rape is a crime against society,” he added. With one of the highest rates of child sexual abuse around the world (over half a million every year), Pakistan finds it easier to reject the uncomfortable truth. It is well on its way to becoming the CSA capital of the world. More than 12 children are said to be sexually abused every day and children as young as six-year-old are reported to be most at risk Nevertheless, our business-as-usual forces an overwhelming majority to carry on with their lives as if nothing happened. A 2013 report published by Save the Children mentioned how one-fifth of the mothers of victims blamed their children for willingly participating in their own abuse while the men downplayed it as “a part of life.” A cursory glance at some of the replies to @SindhuSorath’s tweet is enough to realise nothing has changed in the last decade. With many users rallying support for the accused and others mocking the helpless victim along with the forever-in-vogue religious platitudes, it was clear that they wished to maintain the status quo and keep the crime under wraps. If only wishes could be horses, Pakistanis (at least, those actively perpetuating their biases) would have preferred to do away with any conversation of sexual nature and let shame and honour code do all the talking.