WOMEN Affairs minister Nyasha Chikwinya has read the riot act to rapists of minors and perpetrators of gender-based violence (GBV) in Muzarabani.
By Phyllis Mbanje
Addressing villagers during the handover of dignity kits to women and girls at Dambakurima Secondary School by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Chikwinya said government’s proposal to set a minimum mandatory 60-year jail sentence for the rape of minors and the disabled was a welcome move.
“Women are dying as a result of GBV and so to those intending to commit such heinous acts, you will go to jail. You are murderers,” she fumed.
Government last month proposed a mandatory 60-year jail term for raping minors and disabled persons, while 40 years would apply to the rest of all rape cases as a deterrent measure in the face of increase in the cases of rape.
Muzarabani has a very high prevalence for both rape of minors and GBV and Chikwinya’s remarks came after the rape of an 83-year old woman in the area and the old woman, who had a urinary catheter on when the crime was committed, died after the attack.
Her assailant, however, perished in the horrendous Mvurwi accident, where 11 people were burnt to death when two cars collided and exploded into a ball of fire.
“What kind of an animal removes a catheter and proceeds to rape a defenceless and obviously sick woman?” Chikwinya fumed.
A urinary catheter is a flexible tube used to empty the bladder and collect urine in a drainage bag.
Older members of society are more likely to use this as bodily functions deteriorate with age.
Chikwinya also raised concerns over the high rate of teen pregnancies. During the tour of a local clinic, many young girls ranging from 16 to 19 years of age could be seen with babies and most of them admitted they had married early.
“Something needs to be done about these teen pregnancies. We cannot have a situation of children having children,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Dambakurima community expressed gratitude for the dignity kits, which would go a long way in addressing several challenges facing women.
The kits contain, among other things, sanitary pads, undergarments, soap and toothpaste.
“These kits are meant to restore the dignity of women and in times of great strife, it goes a long way in ensuring this group is cushioned,” Choice Daniso, a programme officer with UNFPA, said.
Many girls miss school to attend to the call of nature as they do not have access to sanitary ware.
“We use pieces of cloth and at times these are not enough to prevent embarrassing accidents and boys laugh at us,” a Form 3 student from Dambakurima Secondary School said.