A SIX-YEAR-OLD survivor of sexual abuse from Epworth gave a chilling testimony of how her father allegedly raped her on countless occasions for two years.
The young girl, who is now in the custody of a children’s home somewhere out of Harare, said her father started raping her when she was just fours years old.
Her testimony brought tears to invited guests at the Women as Role Models (WARM) fundraising dinner where various speakers also spoke about women empowerment.
The dinner was organised by Shamwari YeMwanasikana, a non-governmental organisation that was started by Ekenia Chifamba–Chidodo, which deals with girl child sexual abuse. Although the girl’s mother was aware of the happenings, she could not do anything about it because she was economically dependent on the perpetrator. This man has since been arrested following a tip-off by a woman from Tynwald North who had visited a relative in Epworth.
“This is a platform where girls engage with key successful figures, networking and creating dialogue around their concerns of personal growth and development,” Chifamba–Chidodo said. “The aim of the programme, which will be held annually, is aimed at linking women who have made it to the top to sponsor economically disadvantaged girls in their respective areas.”
There were testimonials from girls who have been sexually abused by close relatives, abused because they have no one else who is capable of taking care of them. Speaker after speaker chronicled their long roads to success, urging girls to value education and to also believe in what they want to do.
“The Women as Role Models is an initiative meant to provide relief and assistance to the sidelined girls, especially those in the rural areas,” Chifamba-Chidodo said. “WARM is an empowerment tool for use in the quest for girls’total individual and collective emancipation.”
She added: “The girl child will still be expected to work for other people in order to get food. It is against this background that the SYS sees it fit to provide subsistence allowance on top of, other basic needs and uniforms to the girls whose families have to go without food. Hunger itself can also be taken as an obstacle to empowerment as it becomes very difficult if not impossible for one to concentrate on books on an empty stomach.”
Guest speaker Monica Kanyepi, who is also chief executive officer of Zimbuild, spoke about how women empowerment was of paramount importance if women were to realise independent economically in their own right. She encouraged successful women to always have a heart for the underprivileged girl child.
“It will be wishful thinking to imagine that a family will let the girl child go to school simply because her school fees have been paid when there is no food in the house,” Kanyepi said.
Edith WeUtonga, a successful musician and bass guitarist, graced the occasion as she strung her guitar singing some of her songs. Also present was Sharon Fero from the High Court of Zimbabwe, the owner of Avondale Taxis, Avroy Shlain distributors who donated perfumes and deodorants to the girls and a handful of other businesswomen who donated cash.