Nqobile Tshili Chronicle correspondent—
ABOUT 325 girls are raped in the country every month, police have said. National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba yesterday told pupils from schools in Bulawayo that the majority of rape victims were aged between 11 and 15 years. She was speaking during a campaign to raise awareness about drugs and juvenile rape.
“At least 325 cases of juvenile rape are recorded every month. Meaning we’re having 81 plus rape cases on a weekly basis. These are very scary figures and we’ve noted that most of the minors being raped are between the ages of 11 and 15,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.
The figures translate to 11 minors being raped in the country every day. The police spokesperson said it was worrying that people who are close to the minors were the ones sexually assaulting them.
“Relatives, neighbours, boyfriends, herd boys and churchmates are the main perpetrators of these rape incidents. These kids are raped by the people they know. They’re not being raped by strangers in bushes but in their homes,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
“They’re threatened with assault or murder if they report the sexual assaults. But we’re encouraging them to report these cases. We’ve never dealt with any incident where someone was killed for reporting rape.”
She said the police were worried about rape victims who are not reporting that they are being abused. “Most juveniles are reluctant to report their cases. It’s only the 11 to 15-year-olds who are coming forward to report their cases”. Snr Asst Comm Charamba said it was disturbing that rapists were buying juveniles’ silence with petty things such as jiggies, or promising them money.
She urged the girl child to avoid travelling in secluded places saying these areas make them targets for sexual attacks. Snr Asst Comm Charamba cited the case of a pupil from Mosi-Oa-Tunya High School in Victoria Falls who was killed last year while with her boyfriend in the rainforest.
She called on pupils to aid the police in fighting crime in society by reporting abuse to responsible authorities. “We urge you to report these cases. Report them to teachers, chiefs village herds, police among other authorities”.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba bemoaned substance abuse among the youth saying in some instances it resulted in them being sexually assaulted. She said peer pressure was rampant among juveniles
“Drug abuse results in murder, rape, sodomy and robbery. In the Midlands last year, a teenager killed his mother due to alcohol abuse. You’ll regret afterwards but that won’t bring back your mother. Can you imagine killing your own mother,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
She said minors should know the dangers of drug abuse as they can be detrimental to their lives. Snr Asst Comm Charamba said through alcohol abuse, young people were exposing themselves to teenage pregnancies, HIV, STIs and mental problems. She said some of the commonly abused drugs include dagga, cocaine, heroin, bronco and some cough [email protected]