By Tatheer ul Islam
Having arrived at home from work yesterday, I was heavy at heart over the incident that took place in Kasur where a minor girl was dishonored. I did not feel a bit like to take my night meal.
She was a little girl of seven years.
With both my children sitting around me watching an entertainment family show on television, I was still quite heartbroken. Then, I took TV remote control starting skipping from one news channel to another.
It was Zainab everywhere. There were elegies for Zainab, condemnation, a long string of breaking news, and other emotional stuff including different people’s comments and whatnots.
The elaborate reports that were being aired brought alive the ordeal through which the six-year old baby girl must have passed. The idea of the plight she had suffered brought tears in my wife’s eyes. Mine also welled up.
Nearby, my five-year chatterbox girl was lying. I cast a glance at Maryam and without saying a word, looked at my wife. She understood.
Without me eliciting the information, she burst into unfolding the details that I wanted to know so dearly.
She said she always continues to brainstorm little Maryam about how should she behave when someone touchesher. My wife added, “Especially at the time when we are staging outside waiting for her van, I always teach her about being cautious and wary of strangers.”
“I ask her never to let anyone touch you,” my wife told me adding the little innocent soul has to persistently listen about the dress code, girly manners and bathroom ethics especially when she is at school.
Apparently perturbed over the currency of incidents involving sexual assaults and harassment, my wife asserted that she maintained a smooth rapport with the school maid for Maryam.
As a nation, we should hash out child safety procedure against the increasing number of threats found from home to playground to school to any place a child goes to frolic or study.
Sexual harassment, molestation, kidnapping, physical assault, and bullying are some of the risks young children are exposed to on a daily basis and require ongoing education to help the children bring it to the notice of a responsible adult.
What we need to do as precaution for safety of our children is to teach them that they can never take anything including food, candies, toys, or money from any stranger.
The children, girls and boys, should be taught never to go to close spaces even though their ball (football, cricket ball) has gone there. Instead, they should ask some adult to do it for them.
Children need to be continuously fed with the idea to sense the improper touch ranging from a simple pat on the back to unusual hugging.
School staffers and house servants who happen to interact with children on daily basis should be told in clear terms that their actions are closely monitored and any anomalous demeanor may have dire consequences for them. The consequences may be any from reprimand, dismissal from service to even reporting them to police.
The sexual assault and subsequent murder of Kasur’s baby girl has shocked and alarmed the parents of every child. Parents are facing huge dilemma what to do and what not.
Let’s become responsible citizens, dutiful parents and guardian of every child that we see around in our houses, streets, and localities.
Let’s become more caring (and vigilant too) to the tender souls that seek nothing from us but our affection and togetherness.
With collective and coordinated efforts, the currency of such incidents can be minimized, if not wholly eliminated.
Let’s make this incident of sexual assault the last one. Let’s do something.
Let’s Zainabs of our country smile, laugh, fun and frolic with abandon in an atmosphere where there is no fear for a parent like me.
Story first published: 11th January 2018