June 15, 2021
By Zeenat Shahzadi
Fifteen-year-old Michael* lies in a weak state as his mother fans him gently in the simmering Faisalabad heat. The young teenager has been in a terrible state ever since he was abducted by unknown people and continuously raped for five days. And while the boy is back, the family has been blaming officials from the Saddar police station of victim-blaming and for delaying the insertion of rape offences in the first investigation report (FIR).
Charlotte*, Michael’s harried mother tells Voicepk.net the story of what happened.
“The abduction happened on the night of June 6 and we kept searching for Michael till the following day,” she says. She says they contacted his aunts and other relatives to check whether if he had gone over to their place. But inside she knew it wasn’t true. “My son would never go anywhere without informing us,” she says.
Michael’s father Javed* says they tried to lodge a complaint with the Saddar police station, but the attitude of the officials there was far from supportive. Instead, while they initially refused to accept their application, they even went on to tell the family to search for their boy on their own saying that he may have gone to a relative’s house.
“For five days straight, we had no clue as to the whereabouts of our son; we even feared he might have been killed,” says Charlotte, her eyes tearing up.
Finally after two days of the incident, on June 8, the police lodged an FIR but only after they received some public pressure from the Christian community. Even then the police officials made no apparent efforts in trying to locate the boy. In fact, Michael’s family claims that they tried to silence them by victim shaming, saying that the 15-year-old boy had ‘loose morals.
When contacted, Saddar police officials refused to give any details of the case on camera. Station House Officer (SHO) Ayub Sahi accused the boy’s father of blackmail while claiming that the boy was a ‘habitual’ runaway.
Eventually, on June 11, his unidentified abductors dumped a half-conscious Michael near his home in Ghaffari Town and fled in the dark of the night. The boy was dishevelled, badly injured, and was suffering from anal bleeding.
Michael was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Despite his state, the police had little sympathy for the victim. Instead of coming to take down his statement from the victim, it was the other way round only adding to his psychological torture.
“When we called the SHO, he told us to bring Michael to the police station the next morning,” says Javed. “Michael waited all day in the police station while not before it was the evening that the SHO sauntered in. Then after necessary paperwork, the SHO sent Michael for a medical examination to the hospital,” his father says. Michael came home after the examination but his anal bleeding did not stop.
Police went so far as to say that the initial medical examination had ruled out any sexual assault. But the family claims that the police investigator and the doctor had connived together to falsify the medical report. The family claims that the bleeding was the result of sexual assault and Michael had to be admitted for treatment the following day in the hospital.
Abuse That Does Not Stop
The doctors treating Michael had told them that the bleeding was the result of suspected sodomy.
“On June 12, we admitted him to hospital for treatment,” said Javed. “The doctors there told us that the bleeding was a result of internal injuries.” According to Michael, the medical examiner and the doctor used abusive language with him during the initial medical examination.
“They threatened me and warned me of serious consequences,” he said, adding that they rushed the examination within minutes and did not treat the bleeding at all.
Michael’s elder brother said that the family members were being threatened by the accused.
“They have threatened to kill us if we did not stop pursuing the case,” he said. “We have locked our house and are staying with relatives to be safe,” he added.
Angry for Justice
Michael’s elder brother demanded that the government must provide them with due justice and protection from the culprits.
Meanwhile speaking to Voicepk.net, Lala Robin, a Faisalabad based minority rights activist said that state institutions were expected to express sympathy with sexual assault survivors, but the attitude of the police and doctors towards Michael had been extremely disturbing and harassing.
At the same time, police claim they have arrested the main accused in the incident, but have still not included rape provisions in the FIR.
Michael’s family members are angry, over police partiality in the case. They have demanded that the government hold an impartial investigation in the case at once.