Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Health Reporter
A 35-year-old teacher from Nguboyenja in Bulawayo has been arrested for allegedly turning one of his learners into a sex slave, raping her at least four times last month, police have confirmed.
The teacher (name supplied), who teaches Advanced Level pupils, would allegedly rape the girl in his office within the school (name withheld) and threaten to harm her if she disclosed the matter to anyone.
The girl got the courage to open up when her mother questioned her change in behaviour on Monday, which led to the teacher’s arrest.
This comes at a time when police and civic society have raised concern that people close to children; parents, guardians, teachers and neighbours are also perpetrators.
Confirming the incident yesterday, Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube bemoaned the increase in rape cases perpetrated by those expected to protect women and girls.
“We received a report on Monday of a learner who was raped by a school teacher repeatedly from February 2023. The accused person teaches A-level learners at the same school,” said Insp Ncube.
“He would ask the complainant to carry his books to his secluded office in the school and then rape her before threatening her not to tell anyone.
The first encounter was sometime during the month of February 2023 at around 10AM when the teacher, who once taught the complainant when she was in Form 1, met her in the company of her classmate in the schoolyard.”
Insp Ncube said the alleged rapist ordered the two girls to assist him in carrying exercise books to his office.
“Upon arrival, the accused person sent the complainant’s classmate to go to the tap and fetch some water for him and he remained behind with the complainant.
He then locked the door and asked the complainant to have sexual intercourse with him, but she refused before he forced himself on the complainant.”
Insp Ncube said that when the victim’s classmate returned she found the door locked from the inside and her friend was crying.
“The accused person later opened the door and the complainant told her friend that the accused had raped her during her absence.
She saw some blood stains on the table and the accused person threatened the complainant and her classmate with unspecified action if they ever disclosed the matter to anyone,” he said.
Insp Ncube said the rape ordeal happened on different occasions up to four times.
“The matter came to light when the complainant’s mother noticed some behavioural changes in the complainant and she interviewed the complainant who narrated her ordeal.
“The matter was reported to the police leading to the arrest of the accused person who is assisting the police with the investigations. Some adults who are expected to provide security and give children better reasons to live and do well, instead turn against innocent children and spoil their lives. The accused will appear in court soon,” added Insp Ncube.
A fact sheet compiled by the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s research department says teachers happen to be among the main perpetrators of child abuse.
It states that some teachers rape their pupils while others abuse minors through writing love letters, fondling, kissing or hugging, attempted rape and showing them pornographic material.
Sexual violence, which disturbs the development of children and can lead to lifelong consequences, is most prevalent in females than males putting them at high risk of HIV and unwanted pregnancies.
According to Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) data, in 2016, Zimbabwe recorded a 42 percent increase in rape cases over six years. This translated to 21 women being raped daily and one woman being sexually abused every day.
There has been an urgent plea from the civic society for Government to put down a mandatory minimum sentence for rape and sexual violence as a deterrent measure to would-be offenders and to give survivors the courage to report sexual violations.
In a petition, Musasa, a women’s organisation recently called for a minimum mandatory sentence of 60 years in cases involving minors aged 12 and below and those living with disability and 40 years for all other sexual violence cases. [email protected]