I was in the third grade almost 9-10 years old. Just like normal children I played outside – football, dodge ball, swimming, riding. I lived in an army area in Gujranwala, a city in Pakistan. Since its traditional and important for Muslim children to learn arabic my parents had hired a religious teacher for me and my siblings. He came from Monday to Thursday in the evening after we came back from school. I was okay with it. But soon I became confused, not with the subject, but by his actions. Being only 9-10, I couldn’t comprehend what was going on. We used to sit on the floor and I had a folding table over which I put my learning book and in front of me the teacher sat. He used to touch my legs secretly from beneath the table. My siblings had no clue. And if my mother and father came to check, he would immediately let go and this gave me a hint that whatever he did was not right. And so I too became scared to confess to my parents to change the teacher. As time passed, I dreaded his presence and that silence during which he would touch my legs shamelessly and soon he began to touch further and deeper. I used to cry after the lessons ended in the bathroom. It was horrible and felt like a trap. The problem lessened when my mother told us to study on the dining table. I am now 16 and have accepted the fact it was not my fault I hardly understood what he did. How sad that a religious and pious man could assault children so shamelessly when its forbidden. I hope all the other kids who went through the same confusion and uneasiness recover.
— Fatima Ahmad