KARACHI: Identifying the populous, lower-income localities of Korangi and Orangi Town as the most sexually violent areas of the metropolis, a fact-sheet released on Tuesday by War Against Rape (WAR) of data recorded from January 2015 to June 2016 shows that 516 cases of sexual assault were reported in the city’s three major state-run hospitals, but FIRs were registered for only 24 percent of the cases.
The hospitals include the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH), and the data shows that despite 516 medico-legal examinations being conducted for sexual assault cases, the number of FIRs reported at 112 police stations, including women police stations, stood at a meagre figure of 122.
Sheraz Ahmed, programme officer at WAR, said the police force’s bias and threatening behaviour towards survivors, society’s pressure and painfully slow investigations were key reasons behind the dismal number of FIRs registered against cases of sexual violence.
To top it all, Ahmed further added that data available with the police departments could not be relied on since the actual number of cases would be higher.
“It takes around six to eight hours to get an FIR registered at a police station,” the official stated, adding that, “There are only seven female medico-legal officers (MLO) working at nine government hospitals across Karachi.”
Besides the numerous bone-chilling facts mentioned in the report, the highlight of the fact-sheet was the level of discrepancy in the data for 2005 to 2014 provided by the offices of the city police chief and the AIGP Special Branch.
As per the report, the former maintained that 1,128 cases of sexual assault were reported, while the latter submitted that 572 cases were reported, revealing a difference of 51 percent between the two departments.
Sexual violence in Karachi
From January 2015 to June 2016, the WAR team investigated 30 cases of sexual violence. Of these, 30 per cent of cases were taken to court. Seven cases among them had been won by the WAR.
Of these cases, , the highest percentage of sexual assaults – 17 per cent each – occurred in lower-income neighborhoods of Korangi and Orangi Town, followed by Sohrab Goth, Gulishtan-e-Jauhar, Saddar and Soldier Bazaar.
In the cases investigated by the WAR, the age group between 5 to 12 years was most vulnerable to sexual assault as 40 percent of survivors belong to same age group and 88 percent of them were female. In around 44 percent of the cases more than one person was found to be the accused; 11 percent of the cases were of sodomy and incest.
To ensure speedy justice in sexual violence cases, WAR strongly recommended the government to ensure immediate implementation of anti-rape laws and allocate funds and standardise DNA tests.
The organisation also asked the government to include human and sexual rights’ education in the national curricula to spread awareness regarding gender equity and discourage the apathetic behaviour of police and MLOs by making strong judgments; court verdicts were also suggested to be made effective.
A non-governmental body, WAR publishes an annual and half-yearly fact sheets to highlight the ever increasing severity of sexual violence, and the state’s failure to safeguard and protect the survivor’s rights and delivery of justice.