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Report on public forum to deal with the ongoing increase in girl child sexual abuse in Zimbabwe
Taurai Maduna, Kubatana.net
May 18, 2005

Listen to audio files from the forum

The Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), Girl Child Network (GCN) and the Women's Action Group (WAG) hosted a public forum on May 17, 2005. The forum was meant to assess, plan and map the way forward in dealing with the ongoing increase in girl child sexual abuse.

The discussion which was well attended brought together stakeholders from various sectors who are directly or indirectly involved in sexual abuse or HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe. Executive Director of SAFAIDS, Lois Lunga, gave a regional overview linking sexual violence and HIV/AIDS. She stated that Southern Africa is consistently confronted with two epidemics. HIV/AIDS, and gender based violence. She added that the region has both "the highest HIV infection and sexual abuse rates globally".

Lunga also made an urgent appeal for the implementation of a plan of action to empower girls and women and to see how people in Zimbabwe can create a social movement against sexual abuse.

Betty Makoni, the director of the Girl Child Network and a dedicated human rights defender, made a presentation on the Gravity of girl child sexual abuse in Zimbabwe.

One of the main issues that dominated the discussion was a case study of Macheke Primary School undertaken by the GCN. In this case study a labourer is facing charges of raping 14 primary schoolgirls and sexually assaulting 27 others. The ages of the girls involved range between seven and 13 years, over an unknown period.

According to the GCN in their gender based violence study, there were at least 3944 girls sexually abused in 2004, which illustrates an increase in 1511 from the previous year.

Following the GCN's awareness and empowerment programmes, there has been an increase in the unearthing of the rape and child sexual abuse cases. GCN handles numerous cases of child sexual abuse. Currently the organisation is working on the case of a professional man based in Marondera who allegedly impregnated more than 50 girls, most of them under 16.

A number of recommendations were put forward during the meeting which can be implemented in the community, school and at home.

Makoni said, "There is generally a culture of silence about rape by family members in most homes. It is a policy and a law as well as a taboo for parents and their children to generate conversations around sexual issues."

It was suggested that there be an urgent drive in empowering the children to know more about child sexual abuse and also how to identify it earlier together with what steps they should take in the event of abuse occurring.

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Audio File

  • Poem by school girl - read by Betty Makoni
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 48sec
    Date: May 18, 2005
    Recording made by: Kubatana.net
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 381KB

    Transcript of the poem
    I don't know whether to call him my teacher
    Or Monica's husband
    Or Prisca's sugar daddy

    In 3A1 he kissed Teclar
    In 4A1 he impregnated Daizy
    In 2A2 he fondled Lucia's breasts
    In his storeroom I can't say
    Only the books are witnesses

    I do not know whether to call him
    My teacher, cheater, lover boy, abuser or user
    Where do you stand cheater?


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