You walk down the street alone at night. You are left with little choice but to find a job and earn an income of your own to support your family. Your sisters remain at home and are protected from the danger which lies within the dark streets. You are approached by a man who offers you a small sum of money in return for spending time with him. You are desperate for the money so you agree. You are given a small, white tablet and after that you black out and do not remember anything apart from the pain.
This is an often occurrence for the street children of Pakistan. According to studies, over 90 percent of the 1.5 million homeless children have been raped. With rape being a taboo subject in the conservative nation, this issue is rarely addressed. In addition, the police are usually occupied with larger issues such as Taliban attacks and as a result many children suffer daily.
Every year approximately 1000 Pakistani girls are murdered by their very own family members for a range of reasons varying from becoming westernized to conceiving a child out of wedlock. In order to prevent such activities, parents have been forcing their daughters to stay in the confinements of their own house and as a result the streets are dominated by males. With young girls being forced into remaining at home in order to preserve their innocence and chastity, the boys are left to roam the streets. As a result of this segregation of the sexes, grown up men start to prey on vulnerable, young boys.
The shame attached to being a male rape victim has prevented many boys voicing their story and due to this many rapists walk the streets freely, unaware that they have even committed a crime. The results from one survey illustrated that 95% of Pakistani truck drivers had raped at least one boy for a ‘source of entertainment’. Is it really justified that fathers are ashamed by the fact that their daughters are raped but think it is acceptable to rape street boys? Furthermore, the strict class system means that many street boys do not even have a voice in society and are merely dismissed by their richer elders and left to suffer alone.
Moreover, some boys start to believe that this is the norm and simply accept that this is their future. Imran Khan a current politician and former cricket star, states that this “is one of the most sad and shameful aspects of our society. I have to say I’m totally embarrassed by this.” This life led by young boys can be inescapable with some becoming addicted to drugs and unable to restrain themselves from truck drivers who offer them drugs in return for sex. Imagine being in this position, would you not feel trapped, neglected and violated?
In a country where reputation and social image mater so much, some rapists have killed street boys that they have raped in order to keep them quiet. These defenseless children should be in school, not in the beds of strangers. As citizens of this world, we must act to protect these children.
If this issue is left unresolved, we will see many more young lives ruined and taken. Let us make this the last generation of children to become victims of such cruel abuse.