OLINDA Chapel, the Founder of Olinda Chapel Foundation which deals with safety of women and children has called on the government of Zimbabwe to scale up sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) prevention measures such as coming up with a register for sex offenders so as to protect the girl child from sex predators and rapists.
By Patricia Mashiri
Speaking during a virtual meeting hosted by Zimpapers Television Network, Olinda said the country needs to start creating campaigns on raising awareness against young women and girl abuses which have been on the increase lately.
Just like how political campaigns are run we need awareness on what child abuse. Most children are abused without knowing what abuse is and end up not reporting the perpetrators. We have existing laws but we can see the loses outweighs the positives.
“Zimbabwe like other countries needs a sex offenders register which will help in knowing people better . It is a huge requirement so that we know who did what so that we help to weed out perpetrators as well as knowing who we are dealing with,” said Olinda.
Chapel also added that the girls have been violated for long enough and it was time people recognize their rights.
Meanwhile, Ekenia Chifamba, Founder Shamwari yeMwanasikana a non- Governmental Organization that provides the support for and supports the empowerment and emancipation of the girl child in Zimbabwe said the girl child especially in the rural areas have suffered in so many ways and everyone should get involved and help them out.
“The issues the girl child faces are cross cutting these include issues to do with mental health, sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR). A lot of rural girls are lacking exposure, government introduced eLearning during the lockdown period by most of them did not have access to gadgets and data to use. There is a lot of lack information to the extend that even when the girls are abused, they do not know where to report.
“As an organization we have been battling with existing deep-rooted family backgrounds and norms which have been difficult to eradicate. We realize majority of abuse perpetrators comes from close families and the most comes as chiramu among others and if these issues are raised and taken to churches mostly, they end by rapist asking for forgiveness. The church also should be a safe space for the girl child,” Chifamba said.
As an organization Shamwari yeMwanasikana have been raising awareness and having community structures in the rural communities to support young women and girls. This has been setting up a system of breaking up generational cycles. These inititiaves have been including traditional leaders and church leaders.
Issues of girl rights violation have been on the increase and many cases have been reported during the COVID-19 imposed lockdowns.