Juvenile rape cases

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What drives a teenage boy to sexually harass/rape a young girl?

Each time I come across articles like that I begin to worry about the future of such young men and other teenage boys in general.

Are young girls safe at home alone with older brothers, cousins, cousin-brothers, friends and uncles?

The truth in most of these cases, young girls are often raped by people they know.

For the past few months alone, the press has covered various stories of teenage boys facing rape charges and those that have been involved in other acts of sexual violence.

In articles published in NewsDay I came across a case of a 15-year-old Ruwa boy who was convicted of aggravated indecent assault.

This young boy inserted his finger into a six-year-old girl’s private parts. What was going through his mind?

What made him do this? How was he raised?

Maybe the way he was raised affected how he viewed women. Maybe he just wanted to experiment and see what made a young girl different.

I have no answer to these questions, and would like to believe he has learnt from his mistakes.

I will give him the benefit of doubt and move onto the next case.

This case is sad in that it involved a large part of a community; A 14-year-old sodomising 15 children in Mabvuku, at such a young age to be ostracised from his community, I cannot begin to imagine what was going through his mind. What drove him to do all those things?

The severity of this case shows a troubled young boy, and part of me wonders if he understood why he committed those acts of violence.

Where were the caregivers in this situation? What influenced him and how can he gain acceptance into society?

I would certainly want to know where this young boy will be 15 years from now.

If he is completely ostracised from society, he is robbed of a chance of coming clean, moving forward and making a positive impact in future.

Now moving on to the one that shocked me the most . . . “anal sex is okay”. This 15-year-old juvenile from Binga saw nothing wrong with sodomising his peer (12) and admitted this in court.

Who told him it was ok to do that? — to force himself onto his peer. What drove him?

Finally the most recent case published last month; Two juveniles (16 and 15) pleading guilty to raping their 8-year-old niece.

The difference here is this case revealed why the two committed this crime.

One had been previously assaulted by a sister. This experience of sexual abuse affected how these young boys viewed women.

They raped this niece more that once and that makes me believe it is an act they begin to internalise and justify.

These cases were not highlighted to bring up old wounds or place judgement. Instead, it is time we start debating openly about what happens in society today.

Usually when we read about cases of rape we focus on the victim.

While I sympathise with the victim, I often cannot help wondering what went through the mind of the rapist, particularly if this rapist is between the ages of 13 and 19.

Such young people need to be rehabilitated into society, strengthened, encouraged, taught what is right and wrong and if there were cases of sexual abuse before, it might be time we start dealing with the root of the problems.

We would like to get to a point where we do not read about, write about and even think of a teenage boy raping an innocent young girl.

This will only happen if all in society participate in the positive upbringing of the youth today.