By Anna Chibamu
ATLEAST 900 young girls below the age of 18 are among 2 496 women who were raped during the last half of 2020, police statistics reveal.
Some 900 young girls below the age of 18 were raped in the last quarter of 2020 alone.
This was revealed Thursday by Women Affairs minister Sithembiso Nyoni during a presentation of a ministerial statement on the level of public service delivery related to sexual and gender based violence in the Covid-19 pandemic in Parliament.
According to Nyoni, the police Victim Friendly Unit received 1 222 cases of rape in the third quarter of 2020 and 1 274 cases countrywide in the fourth quarter.
Some 900 young girls below 18 were raped during the same period compared to 836 cases reported during the same period in 2019.
“We acknowledge that this is a time of great anxiety, uncertainty and stress for many as normal life routines are changed.
“Women and girls who constitute the greater percentage of GBV survivors find themselves trapped in homes with abusive husbands, fathers, brothers and family members with limited access to protection and support services.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, we have indeed witnessed unprecedented incidents of rape during this period.
“The Victim Friendly Unit of the Zimbabwe Republic Police received 1 222 cases of rape in the third quarter of 2020 and in the fourth quarter, they received 1 274 cases country wide,” Nyoni said.
The minister said the country was still keen to understand the real magnitude in view of unreported cases as the Parliamentary Committee on Women’s Affairs pointed out that most cases go unreported at the community level.
“The community has to know that it is criminal to withhold such information as well as failure to report abuse and rape of minors,” she said.
Nyoni bemoaned disturbing cases of teenage pregnancies from across the provinces from
January to February 5, 2021where a total of 4 959 teenage pregnancies as well as 1 774 child marriages were recorded.