Schoolchildren march against child sexual abuse

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WOMEN’S Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri yesterday said 33% of females and nine percent males were experiencing sexual violence prior to the age of 18 years.

VENERANDA LANGA

In a speech which was read on her behalf yesterday by gender director in the ministry Caroline Matizha during a march against child sexual abuse in Harare, Muchinguri said what was most appalling about the sexual abuse cases was that the majority of the acts were perpetrated by relatives.

The march, which was organised by the National Council for the Welfare of Children, saw hundreds of schoolchildren, women and men carry placards in the streets of Harare and sing songs to denounce the rape of children.

“A number of factors, among them religion and culture, have been attributed to the increase in the number of minor girls that are raped, and a number of perpetrators have often come up with lame excuses whenever they are caught on the wrong side of the law,” said Muchinguri.

“Increasingly, the Internet and mobile phones also put children at risk of sexual violence as some adults look to the internet to pursue sexual relationships with children,” she said.

Muchinguri said social network platforms were so abused to the extent children themselves were also sending each other sexualised messages or images on their mobile phones (sexting) which put them at risk of other abuse.

National director of National Council for the Welfare of Children Taylor Nyanhete said according to Zimbabwe Republic Police statistics at least 240 children were sexually abused monthly, of which 27% of the cases were perpetrated by neighbours and 41% of the cases perpetrated by relatives.

An organisation dealing with children, Childline, also said they attended to 100 cases of child sexual abuse every month.

“Some abuses happen in the name of religion, rituals to make people rich or even beliefs that raping a child can cure infections such as HIV/Aids.  What is needed are support systems to ensure children are not scared to report cases of abuse,” said Nyanhete.

Tag a Life director Nyaradzo Mashayamombe said the country’s laws should be amended to ensure the age of consent was 18 years.

Child Representative Ellen Kaziweni from Mabelreign Girls High School handed a petition to the ministry which called for strengthening of the protocol on the multi-sectoral approach to cases of child sexual abuse and violence.

“The National Prosecuting Authority should attend to the ever increasing reports of alleged and unnecessary delays in dealing with child sexual abuse cases in order to complement efforts by the ZRP Victim Friendly Unit,” the petition read.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Big prblm ar th childrn thmselves. they become sexualy actve at tender ages lyk 12. internet yatiparira iyi unotonyengwa nekamwana thru diff aproaches. iwo mapfekero acho. Zim needs God more tham policies & marches. Doesnt surprise that 1 or more of th girls took advntge of th march kuenda somewher fo sex.

    • @munhukwaye from what you have written i think you are still a teenager if not then i dont know what to say to you.mapfekero acho,who buys thes clothes?internet…who buys thes phones?where are the parents in all this mess when people like munhukwaye prey on your kids

      • Yes it’s true that children are indulging at an early age but I think the marches are important as they bring awareness. Most of us we have attendance of ignoring these issues but lets support those who are willing to voice against them. Parents should monitor their children’s phones movements but above all talk to the children at we can save some from these wolves and crocodiles who are exploiting the children. Lets join hands in the fight against this exploitation. Most parents we are hardly at home have limited time with our children and if we are there we do discuss these issues with the children. Lets have limited time pawhatsup and have dialogue with our children maybe we can salvage something. The family has broken down. The police should also be vigilant enough because there is a lot of blue movies being sold on the streets as if it is legalised. I know the children can down load but at least if the law enforcement agencies’ presence can be felt may things might change. But parent we have a bigger role to play lets have time for our children

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