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3,832 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in Pakistan during 2018 according to the statistics provided in a recent report compiled by SAHIL, a non-governmental organisation. While the number is itself worrisome, let’s not forget that a large number of the abuse still goes unreported. In an earlier report, published in August 2018, SAHIL had reported that approximately 12 cases of child abuse were being reported in Pakistan every day. The current number also almost corroborates with the data from the first 7 months of the previous year. This is an emergency situation which is hardly being dealt with by the government or the society. The only improvement since the violent protests in Kasur after the brutal murder after rape of the 7-year-old Zainab Ansari in January last year is that the cases are now being reported in larger numbers. Yet, the stigma around the subject of rape still keeps most parents from reporting the abuse. The gravity of the subject can be gauged by the recent case that came to the fore in Haripur. There, a 12-year-old boy killed himself only because he had been raped by two men, who also filmed the brutal act and were threatening to make the video public. Instead of reporting the incident to police or bringing it into the knowledge of the parents or some other close confidant, the child preferred to end his life. Cartoon by Afraid Canvas
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