Karachi: In Karachi, the number of sexual violence cases is rising day by day. Help is often not available for the survivors, who usually live in improvised neighbourhoods. In a majority of cases, the survivors get frustrated because of the judicial system’s failure.
These views were shared by Rukhsana Siddiqi of the Rape Crisis Centre, who was speaking at a meeting on “Sexual Violence against Girl Child” on Tuesday. The seminar was organised by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) at PMA House on Garden Road.
Kamla Marvi said the society even arrested dangerous animals and kept them away, but men who raped and even brutally murdered girls after sexual abuse were freed here to continue their crimes. She demanded that rapists should not be released from jail.
Dr Aziz Khan Tank, the president of College of Family Medicine Karachi, said that sexual violence against children had become very common in Pakistan. “Because of the inefficiency of our judicial system, the victims are not getting justice and criminals are moving freely in the community.”
He said that civil society should raise its voice against the crime against women, and the children should never be left alone. “Family practitioners have a major role in cases of child sexual abuse.”
Dr Mehnaz Rehman of the Aurat Foundation said that sexual violence against children was a common problem in Pakistan. “Unfortunately government, religious leaders and the civil society members have not shown interest in this serious problem.”
She demanded that all survivors of sexual violence should receive treatment and the government should help them in their rehabilitation. “The media is [also] playing a positive role in highlighting the issue.”
Rehman said the increasing number of child sexual abuse case showed that something was seriously wrong with the society. She said that most of the children usually tell people about sexual abuse but the society, family and friends, ignore their complaints.
Dr Shershah Syed shared some photographs showing wedding ceremony of girl child. “This kind of marriage is also a method of sexual violence, whereby the girls are forced into marriage without consent.”
He showed photographs of five- to ten-year-old girls being married to 60 to 70 years old men. “Off and on we receive girls in our hospitals after forced sex by their lawful husbands. Usually these girls are violated by their husbands and some of them even die at home.”
Syed said the judicial system should give some time to real human issues instead of dealing with politics. He also criticised the media and anchors that had no time for real issues.
Dr Habiba Hena, a paediatrician, gave detailed accounts of cases in which girls were raped and murdered. She said that many girls were burned when they resisted violation of their rights.
Dr Qazi Wasiq, the PMA Karachi general secretary, said that doctors and family physicians should protect such patients. All doctors should help families in dealing with this. “Our school and madrassa education system has failed to protect our children. There is a need to reform our education system, our syllabus and our religious teachings,” he said.