via Come down hard on rapists – NewsDay Zimbabwe. 21 June 2014 Editorial
Zimbabwe Republic Police statistics show that cases of rape of minors, especially girls, are on the increase with 1 494 girls being raped between the months of January and May this year, compared to 1 384 girls raped during the same time last year.
In 2013, a total of 3 297 girls were raped compared to 3 168 in 2012, translating to a 4% increase. Some 1 567 adult women were also said to have been raped in 2013.
But, all these figures might have been understated as many rapes go unreported for the simple reason that they are perpetrated by men of the cloth, relatives and even neighbours. And the victims are scared to report such close people.
These high statistics of rape cases show that Zimbabwean society is now full of “very sick minds” and that it is time for serious action against rape.
Would it then be fair for Zimbabwe — which is largely a Christian nation — to introduce severe punishment for rapists like the most recent suggestions by First Lady Grace Mugabe that they should be beheaded?
Some may argue that First Lady Grace was not being considerate since people may be falsely accused of rape, and if they were guillotined, it would be impossible to bring back their lives if they were later proved innocent.
Indeed, such suggestion might be archaic and indeed some men are in jail for rape crimes they did not commit. The bottom line is that rape can be totally avoided if we all behave.
Why should sex, an act of love, continue to be used as a weapon of violence, instilling pain and suffering for girls and women? This abuse is not only directed at the girl child, but even some boys who are being sodomised.
Some babies and toddlers who have been raped had their uteruses ruptured, while others died during the forced sexual acts and one would not be forgiven to say that rape is tantamount to murder.
Rape crimes are also being perpetrated by influential people in society — the rich and politicians — and what abhors society most is that these people with authority can afford to bribe their way out of prisons even if they committed heinous acts.
Homes and churches are supposed to be sanctuaries of safety and love, but that is where the abominable crime of rape is taking place.
According to Police Superintendent Francis Mutema, the victims were severely affected and suffered from trauma, stress, unwanted pregnancies, and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/Aids and broken families as some rape crimes are committed by relatives, and even death and high maternal mortality rates as underage girls gave birth to children.
It is, therefore, imperative for Zimbabweans to come together to stop the barbaric acts of rape of minors, statutory rape, early child marriages, sodomy, and other unholy cultural practices of incest and giving out of young brides to appease spirits (ngozi).
It is high time very deterrent sentences were imposed on rapists.
The country applauds Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development minister Oppah Muchinguri for their stern stance against rapists and look forward to amendment of laws to curb rape.
Statistics on sexual abuse are shocking and symptomatic of serious moral decay in the Zimbabwean society.