“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.”
Dave Pelzer, A Child Called “It”

As a society, we should understand the impact of the social disgrace on the mental state and psychology of the sufferers. The psychologists have analyzed that act of “abuse” influences and distort a child’s natural sense of trust and love. Her innocent state of mind is depreciated and ridiculed, and he or she learns to belittle his or her feelings. The victims harbour the sensation of pain, outrage, hatred, revenge, and provocation for the whole life ahead. For kids, even a single tear shadows the deep sorrow buried in their souls. They lack self-confidence and cannot move forward in society. They fail to become productive members of the future nation. The only remedy to cure and alleviate their pain is to eradicate the crime from its root cause. We need to identify, gather the resources, and create robust solutions accordingly. Our reaction to this sweeping crime must be reformatted for this modern digital age. Though it seems not to be straightforward, still it is doable.

She is still a prisoner of her childhood; attempting to create a new life, she reencounters the trauma.”

Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence

Over the last 15 years, it has been reported that online material related to child sexual abuse has increased by 15,000%. It’s worrisome in terms of this evolving blast of the growing epidemic of child abuse. The internet is playing a pivotal role in exploding this epidemic as it has made it easier for abusers to share child sexual abuse material termed as “child pornography”. Currently, there are various organizations like “THORN” who work with this notion, to eliminate the influx of these psychologically hazardous material related websites from the world of internet. The best weapon against these abusers is to condemn child sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. We need such organizations and tech companies who could work under the umbrella of government to build implements to fight child sexual abuse. There should be strict law enforcement against the abusers.

The sin of child abuse is creeping in our society from the west. One leading factor behind all this sexual ignorance is the ignorance of Islam. People are more frustrated with the low insight into the religion of Islam. There are many forums worldwide like “STOP ABUSE CAMPAIGN”, missioned to halt the abuse and alleviate the sufferings of those involved in the acts. We need to stop the abuse before it starts by breaking the cycle of abuse. We can do this by igniting discussions that lead to understanding. “Zainab Alert” is a step laid by the government to overcome the increasing frequency of incidences in Pakistan over the last few years. Still, we need more rigorous approaches to defend our children and make them feel safe while moving in society.

The root cause is that still there are many more cases from our rural and remote urban areas that are not getting reported. Child abuse and neglect are occurring around us at various socioeconomic level, across the cultural and different level educational lines. The worse aspect is that in the current period, both genders of kids are getting assaulted in equal proportions.  Children less than five years old are at higher risk for severe injury and even demise from the acts of abuse. The dark aspect of reality is that the most common abusers are fathers, other family members, or even the people who are keeping those kids as servants in their homes. These children who suffer abuse are at higher risk for cognitive impairments, emotional disturbances, and various other health relates issues. We need more Child psychiatrists and rehabilitation centres to cure the sufferers from the mental trauma who got inflicted in such crimes.

Prevention of child abuse and neglect is a combined community effort. We need to educate our children not only by the patents, rather it should be the responsibility of the teaching institutes and the religious madaris as well.

Parenting is one of the most challenging and most imperative jobs. If a child unveils that they have been victimized of abuse, the parents should first believe them, listen carefully, and don’t negate the child. Assure the child and report the incident. There should be law enforcement even for the rights of the poor children who work as servants in high socioeconomic societies.

We cannot close our eyes from the dreadful aspects of this crime. It is essential to recognize, help prevent and report any suspected child abuse and neglect around us before the time that it’s considered as a norm in our society. A small act of kindness and speaking against injustice in the community can help save a child from maltreatment.

“Don’t turn your face away. Once you’ve seen, you can no longer act like you don’t know. Open your eyes to the truth. It’s all around you. Don’t deny what the eyes to your soul have revealed to you. Now that you know, you cannot feign ignorance. Now that you’re aware of the problem, you cannot pretend you don’t care. To be concerned about is to be human. To act is to care.”

Vashti Quiroz-Vega

The article has been co-authored by Dr. Maimoona Siddique and Dr. Aitzaz  Bin Sultan Rai.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News’ editorial stance.