Danisa A�Masuku – THERE is a notable increase in sexual abuse cases which is a cause of concern and pain to every parent and guardian.A�Psychologists are of the notion that abuse has a negative effect on the growth of the child, be it emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and even intellectually.
On a broader scale, it is also detrimental to the progress of the country.
In an interview, an official from the Ministry of Woman Affairs, Gender and Community Development said statistics show that three in 10 children have been abused in Zimbabwe.
Regardless of vigorous campaigns by government through the Ministry of Womena��s Affairs, Gender, and Community Development and organisations such as Adult Rape Clinic cases of rape remain on the increase.
According to rape statistics obtained from Zimbabwe Republic Police in 2012, 3 168 juveniles were raped, in 2013 the figure rose to 3 297 while in the first quarter of 2013 the figure stood at 408 while in the first quarter of 2014 it rose to 409.
a�?This month we are commemorating the international Day of Families and as a ministry we are greatly concerned about the increase in cases of rape. Therefore, I would like to advise youths to report any case of rape to Childline or to the nearest police station,a�? said an official from the Ministry of Gender.
In most cases, girls are the ones who are sexually abused, a case in point is for a rape case which is before the courts when two youths were allegedly raped by two men after taking a bath at a leafy suburb in Bulawayo.
However, this is not to say that boys are not molested or raped. But such cases are swept under the carpet as children suffer in silence.
Child abuse has negative effects on youths. Sexual abuse can create a culture of promiscuity.
Sadly, some of the people who should have been role models for youths have imparted the spirit of abuse and become perpetrators.
To authenticate the above, a research report on child abuse in schools for the a�?Learn without Fear Campaigna�?, Plan International Zimbabwe (2014) says that 13 percent of girls report being sexually harassed by their teachers or fellow pupils. Of these, seven percent report having been forced into sex at least once. This form of abuse is rampant and reports on it are awash in the media which shows that the community has a bigger role to play.
The Legal Resources Foundation (LRF), November 2014 is so explicit especially on the protection of childrena��s fundamental rights. In their booklet titled Child Rights Abuse shows that every child has rights.
These privileges include the right to grow and live in a conducive environment, the right to proper identification like a birth certificate. Moreover, children should have access to proper social security, information, education, and all the basic standards of living for their healthy mental, physical, spiritual and social growth.
Some of these rights have been violated and overlooked by most sectors of society, especially the right to expression, thought and freedom of association.
It is high time youths utilise all platforms at their disposal to speak out against any form of abuse.
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