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In Larkana, a 13-year-old girl in Class 4 was repeatedly raped and impregnated by her male teacher.

These are the facts of the case; other details can be inferred.

That the rape over many months led to extreme physical pain to the child, that psychologically the girl was restrained to not report it at school because there was no vigilance, that she was traumatised enough to hide her sickness and grief for over 90 days from even her nearest and dearest.

The girl child, in countries like ours, are not taught to be brave, only the boys are. Unwanted sexual advances can only be thwarted if the girl child has guts.

This would mean that the social conditioning of the child would be to jump off monkey bars, run sprints or attempt seventh-grade math problems in Grade 4. That is all reserved for boys. On the contrary, girls are gauged on how politely they nod.

Take a look: When a poached lion gets more attention than the rape of a minor

No surprise then that in our pervasive rape culture, even grown women find themselves in uncharted territory when dealing with a man abusing his position of power.


Our schools are supposed to be sanctuaries for the already dropping rates of girl students. Instead they are breeding grounds for abuse and oppression.


What makes things worse is the government's callous response to such a national catastrophe. There are no reports in the media of anyone from the provincial government visiting the aggrieved family.

The community blames the victim and the family for not protecting the honour of the girl — as if honour is some kind of ticket stub or super glue bottle.

The problem is also our terminology when the rape of a minor happens. We shy away from calling it a crime; we call it perversion, for which culturally there is widespread acceptance of the boys-will-be-boys code.

Our schools are supposed to be sanctuaries for the already dropping rates of female students. They are supposed to be places where girls can nurse their tired bodies, overworked through housework, and enrich their minds with the possibilities of a bigger and brighter world.

Instead they are breeding grounds for abuse and oppression.

See: Dear Pakistani child bride, we have failed you

We must stop shaming the victims and consequently shame the perpetrator. By coming forward, the family of the girl have done just that, but if the case is mismanaged — the family is under pressure to take the accusation back — then much will be lost.

Not just the fact that Larkana will be bloodied and scarred but a little child will grow up to know that her state failed her.

As did the Council of Islamic Ideology for declaring child marriages as kosher.

As did the society where child marriages and teenage pregnancies occur frequently.

Examine: Pakistan's wronged daughters

It's estimated that some 20 per cent of girls in Pakistan are married before they turn 18. Most international (read: human) conventions consider individuals under 18 as children.

The reason under 18 girls are children is not because these years are too little to teach girls about empowerment but also because practically and physically their hip bones cannot squeeze out a child.

Nature abhors children giving birth to children.

Underage marriages are just as crass as dogfights. You sit in the audience as a bloodied show is put on.

Except girls suffer silently as per the manual of the literature and oral tradition stories they are fed, where girls revere women who suffer and idealise women who suffer indefinitely.

Take a look: 'Rape the girl, blame the girl'

Given the low conviction rate of rape in Pakistan, it is heartening to see that a sessions court in Karachi sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for raping his niece.

In a similar vein, this 13-year-old's rapist must be brought to justice. Her suffering should not be exacerbated with criminal and legal incompetence.

Until she gets justice, her ordeal is one that will haunt this country.