A 26-YEAR-OLD housekeeper is beginning a eight-year stretch in prison today for sexually abusing her employer’s 14-year-old son and infecting him with a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).Memory Sigabade, of Xhanixhani Village in Tsholotsho, pleaded not guilty to indecent assault but Bulawayo Magistrate Abednico Ndebele convicted her due to overwhelming evidence.
Ndebele said there was a national outcry over the conduct of maids and those found breaking the law deserved to be sent to prison.
“There is an outcry that we must send maids to prison because there is a high prevalence of maids abusing young boys,” the magistrate told Sigabade. “At least he was 14 and not five. What’s aggravating is that you forced yourself on an innocent boy and infected him with an STI.”
He said the charge of indecent assault is on an equal pedestal to rape but there was a general feeling that females must be treated with some degree of leniency.
Ndebele sentenced Sigabade to 13 years in prison and suspended five years on condition that she does not within five years commit a similar offence.
Prosecuting, Concillia Ncube told the court that on February 1 this year at around 12AM, Sigabade was sleeping in the same bedroom with the teenage boy but in different blankets.
“While the boy was sleeping, Sigabade dragged the boy into her blankets and forcibly removed his clothes and abused him once. Thereafter, she threatened to assault him if he told anyone about the incident,” said Ncube.
Giving his evidence in camera, the boy said Sigabade entered his blankets and asked to be intimate with him but he refused.
“When I refused, she then dragged me into her blankets and began some funny dance moves as she lay on top of me and then sexually abused me once. After the incident, she threatened to beat me up if I told anyone,” said the boy.
He said on the following day, he started experiencing pain in his abdomen and it worsened every day until his teacher noticed some behavioural changes.
He said he then revealed to his teacher that their maid had sexually abused him.
“My thighs were sore. I felt pain on my abdomen. I was having difficulties in walking until my teacher noticed and took me to hospital where I was given tablets and was told that I had contracted a sexually transmitted infection,” narrated the boy.
He said his relationship with Sigabade was not cordial as she would often beat him up for coming home late. The boy said he only got home late on occasions when he went to his classmates’ homesteads to do homework.
Sigabade was employed by the boy’s maternal aunt in January this year.
In mitigation, Sigabade pleaded for leniency saying that she was a mother of a nine-year-old child who was being taken care of by her aged maternal grandmother. The aunt stays in Dlamini village where she runs a business.
Sigabade told the court that her relations with the boy were amicable and denied abusing him.
“I don’t know anything concerning his abuse. Actually he’s bitter that I chastised him about a relationship with a Form 2 pupil because she was dating an HIV positive guy in the area,” she told the court.
Sigabade said she beat him up several times to stop the relationship because she “feared he would contract diseases.”
Sigabade said she had a boyfriend in the neighbourhood and would not sleep with a minor.
Meanwhile, A 70-year-old man who raped his 16-year-old granddaughter on New Year’s Day has been jailed for 10 years.
Micah Matema Moyo of West Nicholson in Gwanda had denied raping the girl – a grade seven pupil – through his lawyer Thompson Mabhikwa but regional magistrate Joseph Mabeza convicted him due to overwhelming evidence.
He will, however, serve an effective seven year jail term after the magistrate suspended three years of the sentence for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit a similar offence.
Mabeza said he had taken into consideration that Moyo was a family man, a bread winner and a first offender.