The Government of Zimbabwe and UNICEF launch campaign against child sexual abuse
By Sharleen Mabisa and Richard Nyamanhindi
NOVEMBER 2013 - The government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development and UNICEF have launched a campaign against child sexual abuse and rape.
Speaking during the launch of the campaign, the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Honorable Oppah Muchinguri said the country should strengthen child protection systems at local and national levels to fight against the ever-rising cases of child rape.
The Minister also said the country needs to devise effective strategies to end child sexual abuse and provide comprehensive services to child victims.
“I urge each and every one of us here today to make it their responsibility and be an ambassador to speak out and take action against sexual abuse of children,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri also launched the 2011 National Baseline Survey of Life Experiences of Adolescents that collected data on the extent and magnitude of sexual, physical and emotional violence-affecting children.
According to the 2011 baseline survey, 33 percent of females and nine percent of males aged 18-24 reported experiencing sexual violence before reaching the age of 18.
The survey also reports that 64 percent of females and 76 percent of males aged between18-24 years reported experiencing physical violence prior to the age of 18 while 29 percent of females and 38 percent males aged 18-24 reported experiencing emotional violence prior to the age of 18. About 77,7 percent of the females aged 18-24 reported that the first incident was perpetrated by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
The UNICEF Representative, Mr. Reza Hossaini said there is need to depart from a culture of silence and acceptance that violence against children is normal and instead bring perpetrators of such acts to book.
“We have to break the culture of silence,” he said.