"On average, 100 women are raped every 24 hours in Karachi city alone, and a majority of them are working women. I am saying with full authority that such a large number of rape cases happen in the city. But very few rape survivors have the courage to come forward in search of justice," Additional Police Surgeon (APS) Dr Zulfiqar Siyal while speaking at a seminar on sexual violence organised by the Aurat Foundation, here last evening.
He added that a majority of the rape victims are working class women or those working as domestic help and are mostly up to 20 years old.
"They do not come forward because of the lengthy medical process and delayed justice system in Pakistan. Only 0.5 percent of cases are reported and the majority (99.5 percent) of survivors prefers to stay silent," said the police surgeon.
According to him, part of the problem is that there are 11 medico-legal sections in three major public sector hospitals, "but there are only six women medico-legal officers (WMLOs) for the 18 million population of Karachi".
"I am sure that there are more than 100 rape cases every day ... but you can gauge how many are reported from the official data which says that during the last eight months (between January to August 2008) a total of 197 cases were reported," Dr Siyal said, and added the WMLOs also face a lot of problems.
Karachi is also short on hospitals where rape survivors can go through the entire medical examination. "It isn't just medical facilities but you won't find a single women police officer (WPO) in any of the total 101 police stations of the city," said Dr Siyal.