AS disturbing and bizarre child sexual abuse cases continue to surface across the country, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga has indicated that stiffer penalties are being crafted to punish the violators and the parents of the victims of abuse.
While it is pretty obvious that the country has been too lax on abusers, Zimbabweans need to put their heads together as one family and come up with a lasting solution to this scourge because creating tough laws that we hope will one day dissuade would-be abusers from engaging in the vice will not rid the nation of this menace which is an indictment to our very morality.
Sexual abuse, perpetrated on the country’s young girls and adolescents has a cultural origin with patriarchy being the biggest culprit in perpetuating this vice. And over time some religions have infused retrogressive cultural norms that subjugate girls and woman into their doctrines, resulting in the nation arguing for years over the age of consent. With the age of consent having been pegged at 18, it remains to be seen whether it will be observed given that some religions such as Vapostori have for decades acted with impurity refusing to have their children vaccinated.
Given this background, it is, therefore, imperative that the nation finds itself at family level and decide the course of action to take regarding this issue; otherwise the country’s toddlers, especially girls, will continue to be abused.
There are also other complexities around this issue that are largely steeped in moral decadence. Studies elsewhere have shown that “ignorance, poverty and lack of moral values” are some of the factors contributing to high level of moral decadence in countries such as Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with more than 211 million people as of last year.
Studies in that country, whose population is 90 times Zimbabwe’s, also showed that moral degeneration had undesirable effects on families, schools, politics and even the economy as lack of integrity and self-discipline, crime, violence and corruption ravage society.
All these ills are already manifesting in Zimbabwe with the authorities having since confessed saying, for instance, that crime is now increasingly becoming a national security issue. Corruption is yet another grave consequence of the country’s moral decay, unfortunately very little progress has been made in fighting it because society appears to have long lost its moral campus.
At the end of the day this whole issue falls under the purview of parents who should play the leading role in nurturing and grooming morally upright children.
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If morality is a rarity in many families, then Vice-President Chiwenga’s suggestion that the parents be equally culpable for violating their children’s rights will be the most appropriate option under the circumstances to whip the adults into line.
For the sake of the country’s future we make an impassioned plea to Zimbabwean parents, local and abroad, to assume their rightful place in steering the country’s moral campus, otherwise the nation is headed for catastrophe. God help us.