When I go to the library every morning, the thoughts of reading about another case of child harassment haunts my mind.

It is unfortunate indeed to live in a kind of society where children are treated inhumanly, where they feel unsafe even when surrounded by those they trust. In the last six months of 2019 only, 1,300 children were harassed in one or the other way in Pakistan, the report was collected by a non-governmental organization (NGO), Sahil.

However, the parliamentarians who unfortunately belong to the elite class of the society mostly (whose children very safely/unfearfully reach their schools in mercedes with their security guards and drivers around them for their protection) have never paid heed to the issue sincerely. Probably, the victims in this country have always belonged to the middle and lower classes of the society, be that Zainab of Kasur or Hooz Nur of Nushera.

But apart from the state institutions or ruling class’ negligence of the issue, the irresponsible behavior of the guardians towards their children is a notable reason behind the vulnerability of the children who become victims of some mishap. In many cases reported, children had gone unattended by their families. For instance, when the six-year old Zainab of Kasur was kidnaped, sexually abused and murdered in 2018, her parents were in Saudi Arabia to perform pilgrimage at the time, whereas, she was left behind with her cousins and relatives. They (the guardians of Zainab) were even unaware of the fact in the early two to three days when she had gone missing. Surely, this behavior of a family, as an institution to take care of the children, is frustrating and worrisome.

Moreover, communication gap between the children and their caretakers has made the children more vulnerable as they cannot openly share what wrong they have been told by the nearby shop keepers or Gali Wale Mamu (as usually the assaulters are those with whom the children interact frequently).

Also, the irregularity of social media in which different obscene materials are uploaded is one of the main reasons behind the frustration of the people who become involved in child molestation. Actually, such materials stimulate sexual desires to fulfill which is a social taboo in our society. Thus, frustration and deviation become inevitable.

However, it is not too late to take precautionary measurements so as to control this perpetual disastrous practice. Especially, legislation is the need of hour to introduce strict punishments for the criminals who are involved in such activities. Also, social awareness regarding this issue should be raised among the masses so that the society as a whole takes care of young ones. Vigilance on part of the parents and elder siblings is absolutely essential. They must keep an eye on all those who interact with their children and the children ought to be educated regarding these matters by keeping the cultural sensitivities in mind. It is high time that we as a society began to take responsibility of protecting our future generations.

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The writer is a former teacher at Challenger English Language Academy in Quetta. Currently, he studies Law at Punjab University, Law College. He can be reached at [email protected]