Recently in South Asia cases of murders after rape of children and infants as young as 8 month have increased to unmatched proportions. These heinous crimes raised an outcry for the perpetrators to be held accountable and finally the lackadaisical authorities sprung into action and nabbed a few while many remain at large. The case in point in this piece is of Zainab, an 8 year old girl from Kasur Punjab, who was trapped by one of the neighbor through his devious tricks. After subjecting that innocent child to multiple rapes he killed her and dumped her body in the waste. Although this act should be condemned to hilt but this should also elicit others to reflect where they stand as society. Therefore it’s equally important to confess the malaise that have been affecting this region since time immemorial. In India and Pakistan girls in their days of innocence were married off in yesteryears and this practice continues to this very day, albeit not openly. The determining factor if a child is to be married or not was the puberty, if they have reached puberty it was ok to marry them whereas the age of puberty was determined according to the customary or the religious laws. This practice hasn’t ceased and takes place not openly but clandestinely at many areas, which begs the question if this under age marriage isn’t a form of marital rape? How many Zainab’s have suffered in the past and how many more are at the risk of suffering the same afflictions. It’s time that such antediluvian practice should be given up and for the society to not only settle with the arrest of the perpetrators but demand fool proof legislation and strict implementation against underage marriages.
Submitted by B.H.