Zimbabwe has witnessed a rise in cases of sexual abuse with 60 percent of abusers being related to their victims, Chief Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe has said.
Speaking at the launch of the Global UNICEF Report on Ending Violence against Children, Guvamombe said it is sad that the young girls are abused by people close to them.
“60% of sexual abuse cases are perpetrated by known people, these being boyfriends, husbands and relatives. Some the cases are not reported or are withdrawn in court,” he said.
Guvamombe added that child marriages are a cause for concern as are still on the rise especially in rural areas.
“In the villages they are still marrying off the girl child at a very young age, these children are being robbed of their future and this is killing the nation,” he said.
UNICEF Chief of Child Protection, Noriko Izumi stated that in 38 low and middle income countries, 17 million adult women report having experienced forced sex in childhood.
“2.5 million young women report experiences of contact and non-contact forms of sexual violence before age 15. 87% of first sexual experiences in childhood in Zimbabwe are reported to be perpetrated by boyfriends, husbands, friends and relatives,
“Girls are prone to being sexually abused by familiar faces” said Izumi.
Izumi added that most of these girls rarely report these cases mainly because it is usually a familiar face calling for the creation of safe environment so that victims can seek justice.
According to Childline, in 2016 alone, they received 3 690 reports sexual abuse, with 93% of these relating to the abuse of girls.
Industrial Psychology Consultants survey titled Sexual Harassment in Zimbabwean Workplaces noted that the transport and logistics sector and non-governmental organisations have the highest prevalence rates of sexual harassment in the workplace.
According to the survey, transport and logistics constitutes 25% of sexual harassment cases, followed by non-governmental organisations (19%), professional services (18%), banking sector (17%), telecommunications (16%) and the quasi-governmental sector.
Other sectors where sexual harassment is prevalent include medical services and tourism, both at 14%, education (13%) and mining (12%).