Juvenile Sex Addicts And The Need For Rehabilitation Centres At Schools
Syeda Bakhtavar Jaffri in this article explains how child sex abuse victims can easily become sexual predators acting out their perverted sexual fantasies on other children. She discovered one case in Gujrat where one nine-year-old was abused by an adult and was addicted to self pleasure, later going on to abuse another 25 children at his school.
The issue of child molestation and sexual abuse was highlighted by the media following the brutal murder of seven-year old girl Zainab, in the city of Kasur, Pakistan. Following Zainab’s case, similar cases were reported by the media and law authorities that have resulted in a sharp increase of these sex offences being reported to the police. However, the same outrage was not witnessed on social and mainstream media when 2 days ago, a 10-year old girl, Farishta, was abducted from Chak Shahzad Islamabad. She was raped and then killed.
According to Sahil, in Pakistan, more than ten children suffer from sexual abuse per day.
Read our 100-word editorial here: 3,832 Cases Of Child Sexual Abuse In One Year Is A National Emergency
Being a lawyer based in Gujrat and President of Street Law Clinic Society catering to the issues related to child molestation and sexual abuse, since January, 2018 my team and I have handled a number of pro bono cases on the issue, alongside raising a campaign to create awareness about the subject.
While legal practitioners have for long accepted that laws on child sexual abuse are ineffective and inadequate, we were shaken to the core when we came across some unusual cases during our awareness campaigns of minors molesting the minors.
The cases pushed me to highlight the importance of the rehabilitation centres for juvenile offenders and potential offenders of child sexual abuse.
A government school teacher informed us recently that she had caught a nine-year old boy trying to molest a four-year old girl in the school. This pushed me to write on this matter and share my experience with such cases. It started almost a year ago.
Last summer, we received a call from the principal of a reputable school in Gujrat. The principal wanted to have an immediate meeting with our team. She was concerned about a situation that had developed in the junior section of the school.
The facts that she disclosed were quite disturbing for us but we consented to have sessions in both the junior and senior sections of her school. It was disturbing to know that several of the children, under nine years of age, were victims of sexual abuse. Not only that, this abuse has made them addicted to self-pleasure and they were spreading this addiction among their peers.
Upon probing, we learned about one offender, a nine-year old, who had repeatedly been sexually abused by an adult, and became addicted to self-pleasure and then sexually abused 25 children, thus creating a cycle of abuse. Their class teacher was cooperative and concerned and urged the children to tell the truth. According to her, one of the children was extremely pale, looked very sick and was not able to understand the nature of his deeds. The only thing he knew was that he had done something really dirty. He was suffering from self-loathing and depression.
As soon as the teacher discovered this, she called the parents of the children and we also stepped in to provide practical support to the victims. It was a tragic situation, especially when we had to look at the faces of those little children we were interacting with.
Our team’s psychologist handled the victims and provided them with counselling. We also had sessions with the parents of victims, and made them understand the impact that this sexual abuse had on them.
Fortunately, the parents of the victims showed a willingness to assist their children. It was understandably a shock to them and many were initially apprehensive to acknowledge the problem. But the teaching staff took them into confidence and persuaded them for the counselling sessions with our team. The series of sessions proved successful, but the only thing which bothered me was the fact that we couldn’t deal with the main adult offender; who was responsible for destroying the life of the first victim.
The problem which remained unresolved was the stubbornness of the mother of the main victim-turned-abuser. While it was evident that he required a specialist help, his mother refused to acknowledge the problem and instead changed his school. The child needed a form of remedial intervention with its focus on treatment in order to address his sexual deviance.
His case gave a new mission to our organisation. We took many psychologists on board to discuss the gravity of the matter. Following discussions with many psychologists, I realised that the child sex abuse victims can easily become sexual predators acting out their perverted sexual fantasies on other children. This can only be addressed through effective intervention in the form of tailored counselling with its overall aim being rehabilitation.
There is a dire need for appointing a psychologist in all schools, along with establishing rehabilitation centres for the juvenile addicts and offenders.
The author is a Criminal lawyer, based in Gujrat. LL.B gold medallist from University of Gujrat, LL.M international law from international Islamic University, advocate high court, president Street Law Clinic society, legal researcher and Max Planck Alumnus.