KARACHI: According to the annual report published by War Against Rape (WAR), most of the sexual violence cases reported in Karachi between 2011 and 2014 were of victims between the ages of six to 11 and 12 to 17.
WAR claims that though the number of sexual abuse cases against children have increased but many still go unreported. Its programme officer Rukhsana Siddiqui stated that most of the reports of sexual abuse against children were received from slum areas located in Korangi, Landhi, Neelam Colony and Gulshan-e-Iqbal. “These cases have grown in number in the past few years,” she claimed. Siddiqui added that many cases of sexual violence among children and women usually go unreported. She said the reasons for this are that the children are not being taught and the taboo associated with the topic, which makes children reluctant to discuss these matters, even with family members.
The report stated that, in the year 2014 alone, the organisation held eight community meetings in different areas of Karachi and visited different schools in slum areas to conduct workshops and trainings for students and teachers. A total of 121 sessions were held between 2011 and 2014 in order to create awareness among women and children.
The report stated that, in 2014, WAR investigated 45 rape cases, while from January 2011 to December 2014, a total of 152 cases of sexual violence were investigated by the WAR team. Out of these, 28 cases (18.42 per cent) were taken to court, while 124 (82 per cent) were not taken to court for various reasons, including external pressure on families to pardon the accused and threats. A total of six cases were won during 2011-14, whereas three cases were lost during the time frame.
The number of cases taken to court by WAR has decreased during the specified time period, as compared to 2007-2010, when WAR was able to take 64 cases to court.
Various factors were highlighted in the report that attributed reduction in the number of reported cases of sexual violence to biased and judgmental investigations, poor documentation of medico-legal examination findings and poor quality of court proceedings. The conviction rate for sexual violence cases is less than four per cent.