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on the gravity of girl child sexual abuse in Zimbabwe
May 17, 2005
the Kubatana.net report on the forum
(includes audio files)
PDF version (271KB)
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figures on girl child sexual abuse in the home, school and community
point out to Increased reporting on unreported rape cases than increased
conducted a gender based violence desk study against girls stretching
from 1998 –2004. The results of the nature and extent of child sexual
abuse are shamefully shocking. They used rape, incest, and virginity
testing and forced marriages as the different variables of child
sexual abuse. GCN is receiving an average of 6 rape cases per day
as from January 2005 up from 3 cases per day in 2004. The media
almost on a daily basis report on child sexual abuse. These staggering
statistics exclude the many children out there who are being sexual
abused but not reporting for various reasons.
below shows cases of girl child sexual abuse physically and directly
attended by GCN.
no. of cases
rape cases are not reported immediately
- Out of the
20 000 child sexual abuse cases in the diagram only 5 % were fresh
cases reported at least within 3 to 7 days. GCN`s analysis shows
that there is increased reporting on unreported rape cases owing
to media coverage and sensitisation programmes around child abuse
in general and girl child sexual abuse in particular by various
stakeholders. There are 350 girls clubs positioned strategically
- Most rape
cases that resulted in pregnancy were settled out of court even
though they involved minors aged 16 and below. Such cases posed
a lot of challenges even up to now as GCN tries to unearth for
example, the Marondera school girls case impregnated by a well
known doctor cum politician in the town .Similar cases were reported
in other areas like Mazowe.
- Child sexual
abuse cases where girls under 13 years got married and such marriages
endorsed by church elders were unearthed several years later when
death was imminent due to complications associated with pregnancy.
- The virgins
cure HIV and AIDS and virgins make businesses thrive myth is rampant
and the Hwange case of a girl raped by her own father from grade
four to form four is a clear example of the so many daughters
who suffer within family circles for years.
- The father
as a bread winner factor has perpetuated a culture of silence
on rape within families and in most instances this comes out when
the girl becomes terminally ill.
- School heads
and teachers, general hand staff to include security guards, caretakers,
drivers, boarding masters and matrons, bursars etc were not reported
on at all because of their command of authority in the schools.
Though so many cases of rape surface now from the schools and
still we paid lip service to this menace there are many living
examples of women whose lives were destroyed by rape within the
school system. Clear examples include two Seke schools, Chishawasha,
Hwange, Nyanga, where a form two girl raped was by a teacher at
Bonda Girls High School, and another teacher is right now paying
a settlement of $800 000 to family members at Mbaza School in
Mutasa District, St John’s Primary School in Murewa left a well
known paedophile in the school system after he allegedly raped
a grade six girl. Many more girls who go to fetch water, clean
teachers’ houses and are trusted to any household chores are turned
into sex slaves. If only suggestion boxes would be put in every
school and an independent enquiry conducted in every school the
stories would be most shocking. Macheke case is a tip of the iceberg.
In Domboshava GCN unearthed one case of a trainee teacher linked
to people in influential positions who sexually abused girls.
The price we had to pay was to be permanently banned from entering
Domboshava and this further protected the perpetrators we feel
are even more from what we heard from the girls themselves. The
current system in education that restricts girls from creating
a platform to meet and open up on sexual abuse is a big hindrance.
The school system is harbouring a lot of paedophiles and even
a lot of women of our age from long back have suffered in the
same system and though we expected Macheke girls to open up earlier
none of us has dared to do so even though we are out of the system.
- Most women
are going through domestic violence and they are economically
dependent on men. No one wants the breadwinner to go to jail.
- Some churches
have informal schools on early marriages. Johane Marange is but
one such where girls who upon virginity testing are found to be
non virgins are labelled "dirty and unclean" and this
is justification to be married and raped.
of girls in brothels is quite rampant due to some economic challenges
the country is facing. Some young girls on a daily basis are trafficked
from schools to brothels and some of the owners of the brothels
instil so much fear in the girls that they will never open. Harare
is infested with brothels for school girls under the guise of
- Little babies
cannot report child sexual abuse. They are in the category of
those who are physically and mentally challenged. A lot more girls
are dumb and use sign language. With babies and those who are
handicapped their very survival depends on us since their communication
is close to none. Child sexual abuse is rampant amongst them.
In Rusape at least ten men raped one mentally disturbed girl in
2003. A lot more babies are made to suck male organs and 1 in
10 parents gets to know this. In one case in 2003 a baby vomited
As GCN we safely concluded that there is increased reporting of girl
child sexual abuse. There are a lot of reasons why girls do not immediately
report which should be the focus of any meaningful and effective intervention
- During the
rape act girls are threatened with death or a knife or any dangerous
- Little girls
are often given sweets or cash and this silences them
- There are
indirect perpetrators like mothers, aunts, church elders who go
for out of court settlements. The law is not clear on such perpetrators
- Most girls
do not fall pregnant and therefore to just open up on such abuse
may not be an emergency and it can result in further victimization.
The home is not victim child friendly
- In the school
system the boys, male teachers and school heads are symbols of
male dominance and power-situations women are enslaved to.
- There is
false promise of marriages and compensation for damages to parents.
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