The following is a post by a neuropsychology student who guests-blog for Rozan Helpline.
Child Sexual Abuse(CSA) is indubitably one of the most heinous acts in the world. Consequently it baffles individuals as to why it is rampant in society and why it is statistically on the rise in Pakistan. When questioning why this horrific act takes place in society one must look at it from a social and a psychological perspective to better understand its occurrence.
Pakistan is a country that has a significant portion of the population living in low socioeconomic conditions. Sexual abuse is prevalent in all classes but is particularly epidemic in the lower SES status. This may be because lower SES household suffer from lower incomes, unemployment, and often are uneducated. In addition, because of the demands of full-time jobs adults often leave their children unsupervised resulting in exposure to harm and malicious individuals. These same children probably go out to play in the neighborhood and are vulnerable to external threats or those looking to isolate the child. Similarly, these children from lack of exposure or understanding of sexuality may not fully understand that they need to be wary of abusers or strangers so may not ask for help or cry out.
Another factor that leaves a child vulnerable is the existence of a physical or psychological disability. Pedophiles and abusers pray on the vulnerable and the children often are not able to comprehend or speak up against the abuse. These children with disabilities are often dependent on caregivers and trust them with their safety and protection.
The confusion of the prevalence of CSA lies in that it is on the rise. Why has not society quelled this terrible practice? Why is there not widespread outrage at the amount of sexual abuse and violence against children in Pakistani society? The logical conclusion is that Pakistani society has not made enough reprimands against these actions and that there has not been enough action taken to penalize those who commit these heinous acts.
If Pakistan really wants to make a difference and to produce a change in the existing conditions then people need to speak up. There needs to be action taken on a personal level, a community level, and a nation-wide level. Child Sexual Abuse should not just be a taboo topic, it should be one that communities strive to raise awareness about. Children from all socioeconomic backgrounds should be taught how to protect themselves and how to not let anybody touch them inappropriately in any part of their body.
There needs to be institution and community level fight against criminals that perpetrate child sexual abuse. Similarly, there should be more counseling and treatment for survivors who have suffered from abuse. These therapies should teach individuals how to reduce negative feelings and responses as a result of the abuse. Pakistani society will never progress until it takes care and protects those who are the most vulnerable.