In the last five years, many brutal and heinous cases of child sexual abuse have surfaced in the country. But, that doesn’t mean that the environment was safer for our children five years ago, it only reflects on the ever-growing influence and widespread reach of social media that has brought to nation’s notice a plethora of CSA cases which once went largely unreported. To dumb it down, if it wouldn’t have been for the internet, names like Zainab and Farishta would have never rung a bell. In fact, it was the immense pressure mounted on the authorities by social media only that sought these cases their due attention.
The other side of the coin is that our system has always lacked legislation, protocols, and awareness on how to counter and – even more important- on how to prevent our children from sexual abuse. This is where Shehzad Roy’s Zindagi Trust comes! Two days ago, Shehzad Roy along with Zeba Bakhtiar, Mahira Khan, Younis Khan, and Nazim Haji held a press conference in which they demanded the government to introduce life skills-based education (LSBE) by Aahung NGO in school curriculum across Pakistan.
Following are the eight demands put forth by the Zindagi Trust and Pakistan’s leading actors, athletes and activists in order to #ProtectOurChildren.
The Zindagi Trust has urged the government to to teach child protection via LSBE after the program’s successful run in the schools administered by the NGO. The panel also added that the LSBE curriculum has been designed with special attention to cultural sensitivity and a nod from Ulemas.
Younus Khan spoke in Pashto to the press, encouraging the parents to support their children when they report such cases and put no shame wiht the survivor. Mahira Khan took to the mic to denounce the shame associated with the victims of sexual abuse in our society.
According to the Zindagi Trust, Sindh & Balochistan introduced the LSBE curriculum in their schools in 2018 but only in one subject. However, Punjab and KP have still not taken any such step to prevent child sexual abuse so far.
Many other celebrities and activists have also rendered their support to the cause!
News in the country in the last few weeks has been dreadful for parents. Pakistan was jolted to the roots at the break of Farishta’s story on the internet. That said, the national embarrassment after any such tragedy withers swiftly and the nation goes back to a deep slumber, leaving more children vulnerable to this heinous crime. No substantial actions are taken and if they are, the actions don’t lead to any significant change in the system to protect the children. Given this, Shehzad Roy and the Co.’s efforts to include LSBE curriculum in our educational institutes is both a sustainable and more fruit-bearing strategy to protect the children at risk of sexual abuse. We pray that the concerned authorities lend an ear this time!