Child sexual abuse: Pakistan breaks the silence

Agenzia Fides

January 25, 2018

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – “Pakistan has finally broken a taboo, at least for now. This comes after the denunciation of sexual abuse, violence, rape and murder against thousands of minors. Here there is a culture of silence and shame which are deeply rooted”, says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Mushtaq Anjum, a Pakistani Camillian missionary. “However – continues the priest – the recent case of young Zenaib Ansari, a girl from Kasur, in Punjab, has literally shocked the country. And in civil society, processions and demonstrations have multiplied to demand justice and to put an end to impunity”.

Many famous Pakistani women took part in this campaign against child abuse, and shared their stories on social media using the hashtag #justiceforZainab. The other hashtag #MeToo raised the veil on many other cases of violence: actress Nadia Jamil revealed to have suffered sexual abuse for the first time when she was four years old. “I was told not to talk about it out of respect for the honor of my family, but now I am not ashamed for myself or for my children. I am a proud, strong, loving, survivor”, said Jamil. Maheen Khan, a Pakistani high fashion designer, said she was abused by the mullah who came to teach her the Qur’an: “I froze in fear day after day”.
Frieha Altaf, actress and model, wrote that she was sexually abused by the family cook from the tender age of 6 and added that “the only shame in these cases is keeping silent”.

Fr. Mushtaq explains to Agenzia Fides: “Pakistani society protects honor at the expense of justice. Shame and humiliation prevent people from exposing themselves and denouncing these inhuman illnesses”.

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