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Six girls raped daily: GCN
Tatenda Chipungudzanye, The Herald
June 15, 2005

ON AVERAGE six girls, most of them from child-headed families, report rape daily in Zimbabwe, the Girl Child Network (GCN) said yesterday.

This translates to about 6 000 girls who report rape annually, and according to the non-governmental organisationís statistics, three times the number does not report rape due to lack of courage, counselling and quality health service delivery.

Speaking at the official launch of the Day of the African Child in Harare, the director of Girl Child Network, Ms Betty Makoni said of those raped in Zimbabwe, 93 percent are girls and seven percent were boys.

"As the country observes the Day of the African Child, it is imperative to note that there are 1,1 million orphaned children in Zimbabwe while over 3 000 people are dying of HIV/Aids per week. "Due to gender and age, girls are more vulnerable to HIV and Aids and most of the girls get infected as a result of poverty as they resort to commercial sex work, forced marriages and other risky income generating activities," she said.

Ms Makoni said about 20 percent of young girls were not attending school due to poverty and of those who manage to complete their primary education, only 50 percent proceed to secondary school.

"Fifty percent of rural girls miss five days of school per month due to lack of sanitary towels as a result of menstruation and lack of other necessities.

"Three out of 10 people who sell wares are young girls of between seven and 15 years," she said.

Ms Makoni also highlighted some findings from a survey carried out in Gokwe, which revealed that out of 100 girls who were sampled, 80 had no school jerseys at all and 20 had no under garments.

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