A City’s Secret

A City’s Secret
Zoya Salahuddin

Hidden away from the public eye, a garden of flowers blooms. Hundreds of petals, painted with streaks of colour, a clear image of innocence and purity – undisturbed. Like every good thing in this world, this scene, a discerning depiction of humanity’s morality and virtue, does not last long. Ragged hands reach into the bushes, digging into the flowers’ roots, pulling them out from deep within the soil. The flowers wilt. No one hears them scream.

The story of Zainab Ansari is one we are all aware of. A seven-year-old girl, brutally raped and murdered – Pakistan’s portrait of grief. Her story, and the stories of countless other children, has brought to light the ineffective legal protections provided to women and children in Third World countries. Though the prime suspect of this case has been arrested, Zainab’s murder has sparked an international outrage. Worldwide, there has been a call against immoral acts against a child’s safety, for this is not the first incident of such nature taking place in Kasur.

Child protection education is crucial to the amelioration of such situations; however, in a country where mentions of sex and rape are severely taboo, many fail to speak out about incidents where their sexuality has been exploited. Kasur was first brought to the world’s attention in August 2015, when 280 children were sexually exploited by a gang of men; the incident was filmed. Yet, parents kept silent in fear of these videos being released – 280 broken voices were cruelly suppressed.

Will our flowers continue to wilt?