Last week I met a young girl, who turns 6 this week. Very shy at first, but quickly warmed up after a few minutes. She enjoyed dancing and definitely loved cake. Her story; she was raped by her father.
My first question to her carer was ‘baba vake chaivo chaivo, kana kuti murume umwewo wamai vemwana?’ (Is this her real real father or just her mother’s boyfriend or step father). This was her real father that raped her on several occasions, and her mother knew about it. Her father also has other wives (polygamous) but that was not enough to quench his thirst, he still went on to rape his own 5 year old daughter – may he rot in jail for ever, amen.
In the same week, I heard about a father who was physically and sexually abusing his 6 month old daughter. The mother of the child had at one time left the daughter in the father’s custody as she went to fetch water (somewhere in Harare). When she returned she found her husband with his penis in the daughter’s mouth. Not knowing what it was, the daughter was suckling on it. The mother said she is afraid to report her husband, because he is the bread winner – how will she fend for herself and her daughter if he is arrested? What will his family say or think? – she is just almost as bad a perpetrator as her husband.
I have heard many misogynists argue that some women dress seductively and this invites men to rape them. Many have also said women get too drunk at parties and it’s not that they get rapped but they ask for it. A lot more swear that there is nothing such as marital rape, rather conjugal rights. So when a father rapes their 5 year old daughter, please show me the seductive dressing. Was she drunk? Or are they married? Many associate rapists with drugs, alcoholism, broke men etc; for the record, the father abusing his 6-month-old baby is a pharmacist. Sex is being sold on the street all day, why not go buy than to rape? or better yet, why not masturbate? Bottom line is nothing, NOTHING, justifies rape – those that rape deserve to be castrated really.
The Sunday Mail of June 22, 2014 carried a headline “Over 170 men rape daughters in a year” while The Herald of February 10, 2014 read “Father rapes 2-month-old daughter”. On Friday February 7, 2014 there was another article titled “Rapist dad gets 20 years”. Many more reports with similar titles have been published while many other cases go unreported. One thus wonders what on earth drives men to commit such an unthinkable, selfish and criminal act of sexually preying on their own flesh and blood. Research points to rituals as chief among the reasons noted, with some being raped in order to enhance the family business’ profitability, to cast out evil spirits or to rid the family of poverty or the misguided myth that sex with a virgin heals an HIV positive person, usually as directed by a traditional healer. – The Herald
Society must also actively keep its eyes open for signs and symptoms of sexual abuse on girls at school, churches and even as they play at home. As neighbors instincts that something might be wrong with a certain child’s living conditions or behavior are probably correct. That inquisitive eye may be the difference between a girl being raped by her father or escaping before it is too late.
While children may not disclose sexual abuse, they may show possible indicators. This might include one or more of the following:
- significant changes in behavior (such as reverting to soiling or bed wetting, a decline in school performance)
- sexual behavior or knowledge about sex that is beyond the child’s age
- sudden fears or fear of being with a specific person
- unexplained change in emotional state
- becoming unusually secretive
- pain in the genital or anal area.
But according to The Conversation, be alert not alarmed – these are possible indicators, not tell-tale signs. Just because an older child wets the bed does not mean they are (or have been) the victim of sexual abuse.