By Robert Tapfumaneyi
SEXUAL rights lobby, Katswe Sistahood says the Covid-19 induced lockdown has cut sex workers’ access to medical facilities leaving them exposed to unwanted pregnancies.
In a statement, Katswe also said the emphasis on people staying at homes in attempts to limit the spread of coronavirus has also exposed women and children to forms of abuse within households.
The feminist group said since the lockdown was declared late last month, it has handled three rape cases involving sex workers as victims.
Katswe said lack of access to medical facilities by the special group during the prolonged lockdown period has exposed them to unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
The sexual rights lobby also said restrictions on travel during the period has made it worse for victims who often fail to report the cases and on time.
“Can victims or survivors be assured of justice after lockdown if their sexual health needs are not being attended to immediately after assault,” the lobby said Saturday.
“Some are missing the 72-hour PEP or emergency contraceptive hours. What of their violators, are they being apprehended?
“Lack of information on what to do when abused during lockdown has meant that abusers get away with it.
“Many of the survivors missed 72 hour cut-off for PEP and emergency contraception.
“This will drive unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and HIV.”
Katswe said while the emphasis during lockdown was protection from COVID-19, society has turned a blind eye towards violations by sex predators.
“Two cases were reported of housemaid teens abused by employers’ relatives,” Katswe said.
“The culture of silence and secrecy enshrouding families, results in most cases of sexual violence during this time going unreported.
“It is high time we break this culture, SGBV is not a private issue.”
The group also said the emphasis on men staying home to avoid Covid-19 exposure was putting women and girls at a heightened risk of violence.
This, according to Katswe, was also cutting the victims off essential protection services and social network according to opportunities.