Tafadzwa Ndlovu Herald Reporter
At least 1 500 children were raped in the first five months of the year countrywide with relatives being singled out as the main culprits, police have said.
Speaking at the launch of the National Action Plan on rape and sexual violence held in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe Republic Police Superintendent Francis Mutema said the increase in reported cases of rape was a major concern.
“It is worrisome that we are still receiving more cases of rape of juveniles and we recorded 3 168 cases in 2012 compared to 3 297 cases in 2013 translating to a 4 percent increase,” he said.
“We are also concerned that this year alone from January to May already we received 1 494 cases of juvenile rape cases compared to 1 384 cases of rape recorded during the same period of time last year with young girls under the age of 16 being the major victims.”
He said most rape cases were perpetrated by close relatives, parents or guardians.
This emerged as the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Cde Oppah Muchinguri, declared war on perpetrators of rape and sexual violence.
“We have developed the national action plan on rape through consultations with all key stakeholders and aims at preventing rape from ever occurring and ensuring comprehensive service provision in the event that it happens.”
“The action plan builds on ongoing work and draws from the national gender based violence strategy of 2012 to 2015.
“We have implored sectors which include the churches, traditional leaders, employers and labour organisations to develop and implement action plans drawn from the national action plan on rape adopted by the Cabinet,” said Cde Muchinguri.
Supt Mutema, however, said adult rape had declined although more needed to be done.
“We cannot end there as we are working towards zero tolerance to rape and sexual abuse,” he said.