Lahore based non-profit organisation SAMAAJ is set to release a "first of its kind" 2D animated series called Super Sohni which introduces a new superhero fighting valiantly against crimes of sexual abuse of young girls.
The series, due to launch on December 17, will stretch over 10 episodes, with each episode to be released online every Friday. The ambassador of Germany to Pakistan, Bernhard Schlagheck, recently launched Super Sohni’s teaser on social media. "A very engaging project that can hopefully equip many children with the knowledge, skills & confidence they need to stay safe from harm," he tweeted.
Super Sohni aims to create wider awareness around the issue of child sexual abuse in the country, focusing mainly on minor girls.
SAMAAJ — led by creative writer and journalist Sehyr Mirza, and filmmaker and poet Ammar Aziz — uses different art forms to advocate gender equality and freedom of expression in Pakistan. Super Sohni falls under the umbrella of the Girls Sexual Abuse Prevention Programme, initiated by SAMAAJ in partnership with the Embassy of Germany in Pakistan.
The issue of child sexual abuse is still considered a taboo in Pakistan, despite there being a drastic increase in the number of child abuse cases reported in the country these last few years.
According to research conducted by Sahil, a total of 2,690 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2020. indicating a 4% increase over the previous year. Their reports also show that the number of child sexual abuse cases reported everyday shot up in first half of 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“As harrowing as these numbers may seem, they still don’t even remotely represent the extent of this problem because most of these cases still go unreported," said Mirza. "This is because of the element of shame and dishonour which is attached to it. Awareness is the first step towards prevention and eradication.
"It is therefore imperative to subtly educate our children on this issue and to teach them to maintain boundaries with everyone they know,” she added.