A 14-year old girl named SB resident of Basti Shahbaz Wala Moza Wah Patafi, Tehsil and District Muzaffargarh was raped by two influential people named Sajad Patafi and Rada Patafi from Wah Patafi Tehsil and District Muzaffargarh on August 6, 2015.


Her mother told the human rights activists visiting her house that they are poor and thus do not have latrines in their house; they go into the fields to relieve themselves. During one such visit, SB was kidnapped by the village landlord’s sons. They took her to their farm house and raped her. Later, they left her in a nearby village and fled.

Clip_7SB was taken to the nearest hospital where doctors confirmed that she had been raped. Her maternal uncle visited Chowk Qureshi Police Station to register an FIR . After initial resistance, the police registered the case but are not properly investigating the case. No arrests have so far been made. The local politicians and local MPA is also pressurizing SB’s family to withdraw the case.

SB’s father is a daily wage worker.

                     Child Sexual Abuse on the Rise                        in the Islamic Republic

It is a fact few are willing to face, but each year hundreds – perhaps thousands – of children under 18 in Pakistan are raped or sodomized, and the situation is either getting worse or being more widely reported.

According to one estimate, there were 3,861 child sexual abuse cases [ http://www.sahil.org/research/cruel%20number%202012.pdf ] in 2012 – a 17 percent increase on the previous year. The data is drawn from NGOs monitoring the situation, child abuse helplines and Sahil’s own media monitoring.

But, as in many parts of the world, abuse is probably under-reported. “In our conservative society rape is a taboo,” Shiraz Ahmed, survival support officer at Karachi-based NGO War Against Rape (WAR), [ http://www.war.org.pk/ ] said. “People do not talk about it, including the victims themselves.”

WAR has documented a number of cases [ http://www.war.org.pk/case_study.php ] of rape, some involving very young children, and also detailed the reluctance of victims to speak out, and their difficulties in obtaining justice when they do.

But there is some evidence attitudes may be changing. Following the brutal rape of a five-year-old girl, Sumbal, in Lahore on 13 September, there have been widespread protests; [ http://tribune.com.pk/story/605012/lahore-gang-rape-outcry-over-rape-of-five-year-old-girl/ ] arrests [ http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-118483-Lahore-child-rape:-Police-arrest-two-men-with-help-of-CCTV-footage ] have been made; the matter has been taken up at the highest levels of government; [ http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/09/15/city/lahore/shahbaz-chairs-meeting-on-five-year-olds-rape-case/ ] and a campaign [ https://www.facebook.com/Justice4Sumbals?ref=profile ] has started on social media seeking justice for the child. She had been dumped outside a large hospital after the rape.

The Sumbal case and the amount of media attention it received has focused attention and raised awareness about the issue of rape and child sexual abuse. More cases of child rape are being reported after the Sumbal incident [ http://tribune.com.pk/story/604231/minor-girl-raped-in-faisalabad/ ] from across the country.

In a separate recent case, protesters took to the streets in Faisalabad, where, according to media reports, a four-year-old boy was sodomized [ http://tribune.com.pk/story/606882/gruesome-crime-kindergarten-boy-gang-raped-by-principal-others/] by the principal and other staff members of the kindergarten he attended.

Of the 2,788 cases of child abuse reported in the press in 2012, 342 involved rape and 139 sodomy. There were a further 386 cases in which rape or sodomy had been perpetrated by more than one individual. Most victims (22 percent) were aged 11-15; 16 percent were aged 6-10, and 6 percent 1-5.

In 47 percent of cases the crime was carried out by an “acquaintance” or a person “known to the victim and his family”. Women had abetted a male abuser in 168 cases.

Somewhere around 10 to 20 percent of all rape cases that take place are reported. The under-reporting is due in part to social pressures, the prolonged legal process, stigma associated with rape, and the handling of cases by police.

Dark secret

Zuleikha Bano*, 23, and her mother Abida Bibi, 55, from Lahore, share a dark secret. Eleven years ago, when Zuleikha was 13, she was raped by a neighbour.

Her mother took her to a doctor, who treated the child’s injuries and “stitched back” the hymen, assuring Abida she was not pregnant. The mother says she “told no one what had happened, not even Zuleikha’s father” because of the shame” it would cause him and the rest of the family.

Zuleikha’s facial injuries were passed off as having been caused by a fall from a swing. She was told not to mention the matter and today she is married. She has not, according to her mother, told her husband.

The high-profile rape cases [ http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/tag/delhi-rape/ ] in neighbouring India has led to everyone talking much more openly about rape, molestation, harassment and all that.

Many are shocked to hear about how common sexual abuse of children was in an “Islamic country like ours.

The rape of children under 10 is on the rise and in cases of child rape the average age is down from 18 to 14.

Cramped living conditions did not help. Some Karachi neighbourhoods, for instance, have houses with several families living in them, putting the children living there at particular risk.

While child sexual abuse may be on the front pages and is being more openly discussed than ever before, it is unclear how far attitudes will change in the longer term.