Child abuse is widespread in Pakistan, and girls suffer more, according to Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).
Every day, on an average 3.9 children are sexually assaulted in the country. And the figure excludes abductions, says the SPARC report, State of Pakistan's Children 2007.
AdvertisementThe incidents of violence against and abuse of children are so widespread that any and every child may become a victim of sexual abuse, anywhere and by anyone and everyone.
Abusers include literate, illiterate, rich, poor, parents, relatives, (aunts, uncles, grandfathers, brothers, sisters), teachers, clerics, employers, strangers, neighbours, friends, domestic help, drivers, prison staff, adult prisoners. Of course 80 to 90 per cent of the abusers are men.
Children are abused in the safety of homes, in schools and madrassas and in parks. The ratio of abuse is, however, higher in rural areas than in town and cities.
The report says that over 5,200 children were so abused across the country last year. The figure marks a jump of 900 cases compared to the previous year. As many as 69 per cent of the victims were girls.
According to the report, Punjab tops the list in cases of child abuse, followed by Sindh and the North West Frontier Province. Balochistan has the lowest number of child victimisation cases.
Cases of child kidnapping increased to 324, of police torture to 241 and of suicides to 520 in the year 2007.
The report says that 726 children were murdered; 387 female and 305 male children were sexually assaulted; 366 children were victims of physical torture; 85 were punished under karo-kari (dispute settlement under tribal mechanism), 1,084 were kidnapped and 1,230 went missing.