Double Whammy

Author: Daily Times

Charity’s vile cousin, apathy, also begins at home. As if a 13-year-old girl losing her life in childbirth was not enough commentary on the gross faults in our stars, the fact that she was a rape victim manages to turn the instance ever grimmer, ever scarier.

While a suspect has already been apprehended and police have announced legal action against the said health visitor, nothing can bring the girl and her stillborn baby back from the dead. The episode echoes a similar incident earlier this year when a teenager, apparently unaware of her pregnancy as a result of repeated rape at the hands of her father and her brother, had surprised the hospital staff with an unprecedentedly sudden labour. While the two had survived, they could do little to run from a lifelong sentence of naming and shaming.

That Pakistan has repeatedly failed to implement the numerous accords signed as a guarantor of the rights of children is an open secret. With a criminal absence of sexual education and rampant patriarchy seemingly ready to claim all females as its targets (fair and square), there is little anyone can do.

The numbers continue to soar through the roof as even conservative estimates suggest over 10 assaults every day. Considering an overwhelming majority of the cases of child sexual abuse do not get to see the light of day, aid groups fear the prevalence of “dark web” gangs that feed on the misery of these hapless victims.

The need for the state to prioritise the safety of its minors can only be emphasised if the cases registered with the law enforcement authorities lead to a higher conviction rate. After all, if the rapists have an even remote knowledge of deep pockets, political influence or threat of societal stigmas paving the way for an easy way out, why would anyone wish to keep a tab on their inner demons? *

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