By SIMBARASHE SITHOLE
THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has said an average of 22 women were raped daily across the country and early child marriages were also on the increase due to religious and cultural practices.
Speaking at an awareness campaign ahead of commemoration of this year’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence in Zimunya area, Mutare, ZGC chairperson Margaret Sangarwe said: “Twenty two women are raped daily in Zimbabwe, one woman is abused every 75 minutes and an average of 646 women are being sexually-abused monthly and one in three girls is raped or sexually assaulted before they reach the age of 18.”
“Cases of rape have increased from 4 450 in 2010 to 8 069 in 2018. What is saddening is the increase of rape cases of minors. These statistics are indeed frightening and calls for urgent action to pass deterrent jail sentences for perpetrators of sexual offences.”
She also said early child marriages were on the increase with Manicaland recording a 30% rise, prompting the commission to visit Zimunya area to raise awareness ahead of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
ZGC legal guru, Delis Mazambani urged villagers to shun domestic violence in all its forms and report perpetrators to the police whenever there is need.
“As ZGC, we are urging you to report domestic violence to the police so that perpetrators are brought to book. You should avoid negotiating in domestic violence matters like indecent assault early child marriages,” Mazambani said.
Zimunya headman Jeremiah Chitiyo Muradzikwa said most of the early child marriages were due to ignorance.
“People in this area commit this offence due to ignorance. We want to thank ZGC for coming up with these awareness programmes,” Muradzikwa said.
This year’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence which will commence on November 25 and run until December 10, will be held under the theme Orange the World: Generation Equality Against Rape.