Image Courtesy:

400 videos of 280 children being forced to take part in sexual acts were discovered recently in Kasur, Pakistan. They were abused and then the parents of the victims were subjected to blackmail, while DVDs of the videos were sold rampantly at Rs. 50 in shops. Most of the kids were under 14.

The country has shown shock and demands that the culprits be brought to justice – for now at least. Things are certainly moving along and 7 criminals as of yet, have already been arrested.

This is the current devastating event that we Pakistanis are all interested in for now. Sadly, just the like Peshawar school attack and like every other such horrific incident, this too, will be forgotten in time. After we have made our statuses on Facebook showing how upset we are, we will forget, perhaps when the next big tragic news comes up or when we have to go watch the latest movie in the theatre.

I am hopeful that this time I will be proved wrong.

However, comments have already commenced to belittle and create doubt regarding what those poor children went through. A lawyer came on TV and called the DVDs of the abused kids ‘science fiction.’  I don’t know whether to tell him to pick up a dictionary or to tell him that he is sick in the head.

Many are diminishing the horror by saying it happens everywhere in the world.

A politician lambasted the media for making too much noise about this and thus making Pakistan look bad. Do these politicians not realize that it is they who make Pakistan look bad? It is the people actually doing things like this who make Pakistan look bad, not the people reporting it. The police whose job is to protect the people themselves are involved and covering up crime – they make the country look bad. Not the people outing them.

Sweeping dirt under the carpet is just that. The dirt doesn’t go, it is still very much there. No matter what flowers, decorations and pictures you put on top of the carpet, the dirt is still there.

Having said that, do we ever think about what led to this? Why people who commit such crimes keep doing them without fear or a giving a damn? We are to blame too. To a huge extent.

Child abuse is more rampant than we realize and even in the cases when the family finds out, they do nothing especially if the victim is a girl – because honor.

Always the honor bug.

‘Who will marry the girl if they find out what happened when she was young’ is what goes through the mind of these honor-loving parents. These families don’t realize the shame is the culprit’s, not the child’s who was abused.

Whatever happened is quickly hushed, completely ignoring the fact that abused children grow up with many enduring effects on both neurobiological and psychological development. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias, antisocial behavior, multiple personalities, suicidal tendencies are just some of what the child may be hit with as he grows older without any kind of help or therapy.

How many of us are aware of ‘Bacha baazi’ which goes on unchecked?  How many times have we seen a documentary about it and read about it and have shown our disgust, cursed the people, and then gone on with what we were doing? Some even justify it by saying it is part of their culture.

What kind of ‘fine’ culture thrives on abusing kids? How many such children are beaten, touched inappropriately by strange men while they are dancing, raped, made to do things they don’t want to, video-taped, etc?  I am guessing the number is much higher than 280. So why are we silent about that? Why do we let it happen?

How many times have we seen little kids on the streets being hit, pushed and bullied by an older person/people. I am fairly certain many of those kids are abused and raped too. What do we do when we see them? Some give money to shut them up, while others reprimand them for getting too close to the car. Sometimes we even pretend to not see them and completely ignore them like they don’t exist. A few do feel sad for them at times and say “Becharay” but we never quite feel bad enough to do something about it. 

The extremely God-fearing conscious ones – now those are one of a kind. They come on Facebook and post pictures of sad tragedies, etc and say “1 like equals 50 prayers, if you ignore you are heartless” and they think their job/good deed of the day is done.

I am very sure those 400 prayers or 8 likes travel swiftly at the speed of light straight up to God, but I don’t think it makes much difference to the victims themselves. Unless of course what happens to the victims is magically reversed and/or new harsh laws suddenly appear that severely punish the abusers.

I think not.

So when we think about what happened to those poor kids in Kasur, we are all to blame. We do nothing. And it is partially because of that; people do such things without fear of being caught. If anything, they are protected.

We wait for God to handle it or for other people to stand up to make a difference while we sit and watch the news and pretend to be devastated. When to us, it is nothing but news and just something to talk about. We forget about everything every single time so nothing changes, ever. Heck, we even forget the minute we change the channel.

We post scenic pictures of our country, beautiful places, flowers and feel very proud that this is our country as we should be, but all the while forgetting that dirt that still lays below the carpet.