…WCoZ takes fight against GBV to rural areas

By Clayton Shereni
As the country wraps up observing 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence, Traditional leaders from Masvingo province have strongly condemned rampant sexual abuse of underage girls which is
going untamed.
In recent weeks there has been widespread calls for stiffer penalties for the culprits and would-be offenders in an effort to put an end to the unfortunate incidents.
Speaking during a Male Engagement Forum organized by Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) Masvingo Chapter in Chivi District’s Ward 10 on Friday, traditional leaders raised concern over the abuses and called upon government to act swiftly.
Headman Musvuvugwa from Chivi pointed out that some cultural activities and beliefs have contributed to abuse of young girls especially in marginalized communities.
“Some of the programs being implemented in some cultures propel abuse of young girls. Once a girl has been taken for genital mutilation in some cultural circles they begin to experiment and this has
extensively led to sexual abuse. Government should intervene as a matter of urgency and see to it that these programs are stopped,” he said.
Village Head Mudzingwa born Munyaradzi Mudzingwa from Chivi also weighed in saying the sentence for sex offenders should be stiffer because some dreams of young girls are being shattered by sex
predators who are walking scot-free.
“Government should increase custodial sentence, even the proposed 15 years we feel it’s little they should increase the term because these people are destroying future of children. We know some might be doing
it for rituals and we would like to warn them that we will never tolerate that in our jurisdictions,” said Mudzingwa.
Contacted for comment on the matter of child sexual abuse, Masvingo provincial Chiefs Assembly chairperson, Chief Chitanga born Feleni Chauke of Mwenezi expressed disappointment on the sharp increase of cases.
“One of the major causes is that children are being left in the care of relatives who will abuse them. There is an increase in child headed families and this is one major driver of child sexual abuse. In the
instance that parents go to search for greener pastures they should leave their children in the care of reliable people and make sure that they provide for them because some are being abused for food.
These sentiments come at a time when the country is still yet to come to terms with two cases of 9 year old girls who were impregnated and one of them recently gave birth.
Zimbabwe is currently joining the rest of the world to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) which is being held under the theme: “All Lives Matter, End Gender Based Violence Now.”