NEW: Date rape cases on the rise  

03 Dec, 2021 - 12:12 0 Views
NEW: Date rape cases on the rise   Asst-Comm Nyathi

The Sunday Mail

Debra Matabvu 

Zimbabwe has recorded an increase in date rapes during Covid-19 induced lockdowns, with social media interaction exacerbating the vice, observers say.

Date rape occurs when the victim and the perpetrator are acquaintances, and in most cases the two will be dating.

It has, however, been described as one of the least talked about forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Although the country does not have official statistics on date rape, organisations advocating for women and girl child rights say date rape is on the rise, resulting in more child marriages.

In an interview, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, implored women and young girls to desist from meeting strangers in secluded places.

“We have come across such incidents in our line of work over the years, and they have been exacerbated by social media,” he said.

“In most cases, individuals meet and date on social media platforms such as Facebook or WhatsApp, after some time they arrange physical meetings, which in most cases, the woman or girl is raped.

“So, as the police we implore women and girls not to go on dates in secluded areas with people who are strangers.”

Shamwari yeMwanasikana executive director, Ms Ekeniah Chifamba, said they have witnessed an increase date rapes, which have led to child marriages.

According to Ms Chifamba date rape has increased by 52 percent from January to December this year compared to last year.

“We have dealt with such cases, and they are on the rise especially among adolescent girls and young women. “Most girls do not understand what consent is, therefore when violated they do not realise it. These issues mostly come to light when they result in pregnancy.

“We have also noted that most child marriages are a result of date rapes. Most adolescents do not have information on how to protect their rights from being violated when they date,” she said.

“So usually, they suffer in silence under the guise of being in love. When they get pregnant, they are forced to elope.

“Between January 2021 and November 2021, we have received 35 cases of date rape. In 2020 we received 23 cases of date rape.”

Zimbabwe is commemorating 16 days against Gender Based Violence (GBV), running under the global theme ‘Orange the world: End violence against women now’.

The 2019 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) report shows that 39,4 percent of adolescent girls and women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence since age 15 and among females aged 15-49 years, while 11,6 percent had experienced sexual violence in their lives.

Recently, the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, told the National Assembly that there was an increase in the number of girls below 17 years that were impregnated and married during Covid-19 induced lockdowns.

“A total of 4 959 girls got impregnated in such a short period, and this means that nearly 5 000 of our girls risk losing their educational opportunity, if they do not pursue re-admission,” she said.

“Most worrying is the 1 774 who are in matrimonial union before their 18th birthday. They have lost opportunities and have also become vulnerable to other forms of violence and assault, which include economic and emotional abuse.”

 

Share This: