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Worrying rates of sexual violence in Chiadzwa

By Billian Tino Matambo

17 March 2022

In as much as it is said the arm of the law is long, it’s a scary and disheartening thought for most women, knowing that some perpetrators of sexual violance are roaming out there playing hide and seek with the law enforcement agents.  As Chiadzwa community we are witnessing a spike in rape cases with alleged perpetrators having the freedom of roaming our streets while some are on the run with their whereabouts unknown to law enforcers.

On Tuesday the 15th of February 2022, an atmosphere of helplessness lingered over us as we sat at Mutare Magistrate Court. From 8am to 12 noon we sat, impatiently waiting for the arrival of Douglas Mutowa (49) who is charged of contravening section 70 of the criminal code after impregnating a 15-year-old minor from Chiadzwa.

The matter was reported by the father of the minor in January 2022 which then led to the arrest of Mutowa.  The parents of the minor reported the matter the moment they discovered that their daughter was pregnant, and the culprit was Mutowa.   From the onset, Mutowa claimed that he intended to marry the minor, which angered the parents leading them to reporting the case. Mutowa was out on bail awaiting trial which was set to begin on the 15th of February 2022. Unfortunately, he did not turn up which forced the court to issue a warrant of arrest against him. The sad part of such cases is that it’s disheartening for us women to know that most rapists have not been brought to book.

Looking closely at the past two months of 2022 the community have witnessed more   than six alleged rape cases with some going unreported. The safety and freedom of women in the community is compromised because most of the child abusers’ cases vanish into thin air with perpetrators running away from the law.  These are the manifestations of GBV which has now became a shadow pandemic in our communities. Marange community have lost two young girls who passed on during their labour period, Annah Machaya and Febby Munyafi both 14 years of age. The duo lost their lives due to religious child marriages.

More needs to be done to protect the girl child as per her constitutional rights and end sexual abuse of young girls. Our communities need to be taught to cease the practice of sanitising rape cases by pushing young girls into early marriages. This practice has seen more girls dying during childbirth and an increase in domestic violence as these young girls are exposed to difficulties that they’re not yet ready for. The law must as well be strict on such cases making sure that perpetrators are brought to book without failure, and this should be in a timely manner.

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