By: Saleha Malik and Aiza Aziz
Abduction and Molestation is a global issue that needs to be addressed. Talking or raising voice about abuse or molestation is felt as a taboo. Even though we all know that it is a crime happening.
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There have been a tremendous increase (4% increase as compared to 2019) in such cases in 2020.
The victims are often children or females because they are more vulnerable. Young girls or women after abduction are taken into captivity and sometimes forced to sexual servitude, also serving as maids or minders of children. Incidents of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation are also seen.
Often a gang of kidnappers abduct children or girls from different areas and then they are transported to some other location may be some other country or island for sexual causes.
A survey report says that 1 in every 6 women is sexually assaulted. Males have also been found to be sexually abused, boys of the age 6-10 and 11-15 are more vulnerable but they are less likely to be seriously taken into account and receive medical or psychological aid. According to a report,
about 8 children are abducted every day and then sexually assaulted. Often perpetrated by some known and trust-worthy person, acquaintances, teachers, shopkeepers, drivers etc in 80% of the cases while some 20% are strangers. Relative percentage of abducted girls and boys was 51% and
49% respectively. About 20-30% women have experienced harassment. The ruthless perpetrators mostly abused children from 6-15 years of age.
Molestation cases in age group 0-5 years have also been reported. Majority belonged to rural areas, 65%. The statistics of 2020 showed that molestation included 985 cases of Sodomy, 787 of Rape, 89 of Pornography, 173 of gang-rape.
About 80 been murdered after sexual assault and 345 children were found missing. The report include data collected from 84 different newspapers covering reported incidents from the four provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory, Azad & Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan as well.
These statistics are based on the cases which are reported, while there are so many cases left unreported because victims feel embarrassed and scared about “Will society accept them?”.
Abduction and molestation is not a mere happening, it leaves long lasting scars on the victims. These events have a huge impact on victims’ physical and mental health as well as character. Physical impairments often include genital injuries and fistulae, it can be treated by seeking proper medical aid. But psychological issues are often not addressed properly and survivors worsen their mental health by internalizing the symptoms. They face problems in future because of not getting treatment at the right time. Mentally sick person needs as much support as a physically sick person so there is a need to consult some psychiatrist. It is important to ask them about Who assaulted them? How severe was the abuse? How long did the sexual assault last? Did family support the survivor or dismissed it? Answers to these questions help the psychologist to heal their wounds.
The psychological issues commonly seen in survivors are discussed here:
• Facing trauma and anxiety is seen in a large population. Many suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) because of painful experience of sexual abuse. The reaction of children is often not like PSTD.
• Neurochemical and structural changes occur in brain.
• Many of them face sexual issues afterwards with their intimate partner.
• Trust issues develop leading to the impaired ability to trust even near and dear ones. Their sense of the world being safe for them is lost.
• At times, they feel frightened and scared.
• Build up a lot of negativity in the mind and then find it difficult to cope with stressful situations.
• Their moral and self esteem is hurt and they feel guilt and blame themselves for the happenings.
• They feel hard to control their anger, mostly frustrated and angry.
• Often survivors Feel difficulty concentrating on the things, they are very easily distracted, instigated and irritated.
• Most of them are unable to answer the details about the assault because the brain tries to forget hurting situations.
• Some Face eating and sleeping disorders, personality and dissociative disorders.
• Many of the victims start consuming substance like alcohol and drugs to help them relieve the stress and later become addicted to it.
• Feel dissatisfied with their physical appearance and are more self-conscious about body.
• Impulsive behavior is seen. They don’t think before attempting any harmful act because of Impulsivity.
• Self-harm is common. Survivor may not be intended to end life but feel happy to be in pain.
• Some of the victims commit suicide either because of depression or familial and society pressure.
• Other include restricted social contacts, conduct problems, selflessness ,self pity, somatic complaints, stigma etc.
Some of the survivors may not develop the symptoms of psychological illness because every mind has different perceptive abilities. But Abduction and molestation is a risk factor to developing psychological issues. One may seek medical and psychological attention if symptoms appear. It is important to avoid revictimization because it worsens the symptoms. Family, relative and friends often cut off from the victims when they share their experience or come forward to report the case.
While , it is very necessary to be surrounded by caring and supportive people at that moment.
Survivors need to be freed from guilt and low moral. They should be made to realize that there was no fault at their end. Building healthy relationships and boosting their confidence level is important practice. They should be made to overcome other unhelpful strategies like self-harm,
eating and sleeping problems. If they are consuming excessive alcohol or drugs, it is better to take them to rehabilitation center. These strategies and family support make them heal and lead a healthy and normal life.
The research concludes that all such incidents can be extremely traumatic for victims and their families too. People especially kids should be educated about the good and the bad touch. The criminals should be hanged publically. There is a need to enforce the law properly and to free the society from such ruthless perpetrators.