Timoth Makohliso Midlands Reporter
WORKING mothers are focusing too much on their careers at the expense of caring for their children, resulting in an increase in sex attacks on children by individuals left to care for them, Midlands police said.
Superintendent Enthiua Muzvidziwa, who chairs the Gweru Urban Women’s Network, said of the 83 rape cases reported in Gweru urban between March last year and February this year, 54 involved children.
“It’s disheartening to note that the number of victims of sexual violence is dominated by infants as young as two months. We recently received a rape case involving a two-month-old baby which is something very disturbing. All mothers must bear in mind that their primary responsibility is to offer parental guidance and care to their children,” said Supt Muzvidziwa, speaking at the belated International Women’s Day celebrations held at the Gweru Civic Centre on Wednesday.
The prevailing economic challenges, she said, should not deter mothers from playing their parental roles and being there for their children. The poorly performing economy was forcing women to work long hours, sometimes more than one job, in the process causing untold harm to their family life, she added.
“The figures are quite disturbing, especially with regards to children as they’re the most affected. I therefore urge women to play a major part in curbing the prevalence of such cases. Most women are now cross-border traders. You should make it a point that whenever you travel, you don’t leave your children in the hands of strangers,” she went on.
“These strangers can expose children to porno which eventually leads to them being sexually abused.”
Sup Muzvidziwa said mothers should work closely together with police and report all sexual assaults that would have happened in their area.
This year’s International Women’s Day was held under the theme, “Beijing+20 the Journey Towards Women Empowerment in Zimbabwe: Successes and Challenges”.