"As the culture declines, as people are cut loose and don't know what to do, they are floating around without the protection of the family, without protection of experience, tradition or anything ... they become more vulnerable," said Theodore Robert Bundy. Though neither a scholar nor an intellectual, his observation is quite telling, for you may know him better as Ted Bundy, the notorious American serial killer executed in 1989 by the State of Florida.
To this day, some feel that serial killers and sexual predators only inhabit the decadent west. Sure there is political violence and rampant crime, but mass murderers and sexual deviants are virtually unheard of "back home," some claim. Perhaps this may have been true to some extent sometime ago.
Times are sure changing. Consider that a report released last year by the Pakistan Human Rights Commission found that about 22 percent of those questioned in the Northwest Frontier province "considered it (sexual abuse of boys) a mark of masculine pride, 14 percent regarded it as a badge of social status and 11% accepted it as being nothing very wrong." There is clearly something wrong and I don't think its anything in the air they breathe up there in the Frontier; because the biggest shocker came from Lahore in the Punjab province two weeks ago.
As Bundy accurately observed, when the family structure starts to collapse, morality declines and the social cohesiveness of society loosens, many fall through the cracks. And everyone ultimately pays heavily.
Javed Iqbal is still wanted for allegedly sodomizing, killing and dismembering 100 boys in the capital of Punjab province and keeping the body parts in vats of acid. Two of his alleged accomplices are in custody and a third jumped to his death while in police custody last week. Upon hearing the news of the 100 dead, I first thought that it was the result of some political, tribal, ethnic or religious battle. Deplorable as such a story would be, it would be nothing new. But I was certainly not ready for the news that the deaths had nothing to do with any of the foregoing. Pakistan's ugly side is evident to all from the massive corruption and political, tribal, ethnic and religious wars that rage in its cities daily. This most recent incident has now also exposed its sick underbelly. Time for the people to sit up and realize that the country is not only politically bankrupt but also morally.
Some have jumped on this to claim that the solution to the problem lies in making society more open and free. Who would have a problem with that? That depends. What is the definition of open and free?
Well, Anees Jillani, national coordinator for the Pakistan Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, feels that child sexual abuse will become an even bigger problem as long as people cannot express their sexuality due to the country's religious and cultural restrictions. "This is sexual deviation," he pontificates in the National Post. "The more we suppress society the more this will happen. There are fewer outlets for sexual experiences. Sexual suppression leads to sexual deviation."
It's hard to figure out what Jillani is prescribing. Is he suggesting that pornography -- though not child porn -- be legalized so people like Iqbal, if he in fact is guilty of the horrendous crimes, have an outlet to express themselves? Should Pakistani society be more accepting -- more than it is already -- of promiscuity? Perhaps legalized "Red Light Districts" should supplement the existing underground operations?
If these are part of Jillani's prescription than he has surely not found a remedy for Pakistan's ills. The answer to growing sexual perversion is not permissiveness. Rather, the focus must be on improving the morality of the future generations. Satellite Dishes, the Internet and all other mediums shaping the future generations must be controlled.
The glorification of pornography, violence, murder and perversion in the name of art and freedom only produces more perversion and anti-social behavior. The impact is clearly being felt in American schools where the kill rate is keeping pace with the rates in the video arcades. I can't even begin to imagine what is in store for places like Pakistan where there is no law and order to begin with and murder and mayhem are regular fare.
To those who think along the lines of Jillani, I can only leave them with some passages from an interview Bundy gave (according to him in the hopes of preventing others from following in his footsteps) before his execution, to Dr. James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family at the time.
Speaking about his slow evolution from looking at obscene material, he said, "...You reach that jumping off point where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it will give you that which is beyond just reading about it or looking at it...." And with respect to the cause-and-effect relationship between using obscenity and criminal sexual behavior, he observed, "...I've met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me. And without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography...."
The solution lies in restricting any and all outlets for sexual experiences and closing all the doors that lead to such deeds outside of marriage.
Faisal Kutty is a Toronto lawyer and writer and is also columnist for the Washington Report On Middle East Affairs