A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.
On Tuesday, the 9th of January 2018, the body of a little eight year old girl named Zainab was found amongst a pile of garbage. Her parents reported her missing days before yet the police failed to take any effective action.
Since then, this case, in particular has blown up all over social media and the #justiceforZainab has been trending on almost every single social media site worldwide. However, this incident is not an isolated incident. This incident just managed to grasp the attention of the social media- which is incredible as mostly every such case gets buried. Actors, actresses, and even politicians have offered their condolences and participated in protests around the country to bring light to this issue- even the army has offered their support to assist in the hunt for the killer.
However, when looking at this case, there are two important things to keep in mind; this is not an isolated case and that the police do not give these cases any whatsoever priority in their work.
First of all; this is not an isolated case. Street children and children living in poverty experience this every day without any promise of justice. Street children are abused, kidnapped and raped every single day. This particular case just happened to catch the eye of the public as the girl came from a better home and had someone to fight for her, which is good because that is what our country needs; people to fight for the victim. However, what if we had the same outrage when we saw street children being abused, or knowing they were being abused? We turn a blind eye to what is convenient for us; one case, and turn our eyes away from what is less convenient; street children. But it is as Josef Stalin once said; A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.
How many more before we realize that there is no difference between the sexual abuse of a child from a decent family and that of a street child? Raise your voice.
The second aspect to note here is the absolutely nonchalant demeanor of the police. Zainab disappeared on a Saturday but was not found until Tuesday. She was found just two kilometers away from her house. The police did not put in any decent amount of effort, otherwise she would have been found much quicker given the location in which she was found. Hence- showing that once this case was reported, the police did not see it as a priority, it was not shocking for them to take immediate and thorough action. Sexual abuse has lost its horrific shock value- it does not get them to act. Maybe it is our fault as we fail to pressurize them enough. Hopefully, this case can change things and open up a discussion for dialogue, awareness and a demand for justice, effective action and prevention.
Our sincere condolences to Zainab and her family. May she and you all find piece and get your justice rightfully.