via Cross border traders expose kids to rape 22 June 2014
WHILE some of Zimbabwe’s enterprising mothers traverse borders trying to fend for their children, it has emerged they could in fact be exposing their girl offspring to male sex predators back home.
This was revealed by an inter-ministerial cabinet team mandated by government to look into the reasons behind the high incidence of rape in the country.
Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister, Oppah Muchingura made these remarks during last Thursday’s launch of the National Action Plan on Rape themed , “War Against Rape; Stop Rape Now”.
“Women cross border traders, leaving their children in the hands of relatives expose the children to rape. Such ventures have caused a lot of havoc in families,” said Muchinguri.
Cross-border trading is common among jobless Zimbabweans with Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania among the most common destinations.
The inter-ministerial committee on rape was set up by government to probe the causes of rape and to propose measures on how control the vice.
It drew participants from government ministries, among them, Women Affairs; Justice; Education; Home Affairs as well as the Youth ministry.
Meanwhile, in her keynote speech during the launch, Vice President Joice Mujuru identified poverty and general parental neglect as some of the causes of rape and child marriages in the country.
Government’s indigenisation thrust towards black advancement has seen a lot of female traders being supported through group loans by government.
Many have taken the easier route of trading on imported ware from the country’s rich neighbours.
Gory tales of children being violated by older care givers have dominated local newspaper pages, the recent case being that of a Gokwe man who ruptured his juvenile victim’s uterus in a rape incident that sparked public outcry.
The high incidence of rape has elicited strong reactions among women’s rights activists and other Zimbabweans who want stiffer penalties imposed on sex offenders.
President Robert Mugabe, in one of his speeches has called for castration on rapists while his wife, Grace told a recent Blood Donor Day commemorations, rapists must be beheaded.