Book interrogates sexual abuse in schools, church
A culture of sexual abuse in religious and educational institutions has for long menaced society world over, with women and children often falling prey to lustful leaders who hide under powerful institutions and positions to conceal the heinous acts.
Be it the well reported child molesting and rape incidents by the Catholic clergy, or closer to home, rape allegations by hordes of local so-called prophets or rampant child marriages in the apostolic sects which has led to death of minors during child birth, sexual abuse seems to be present everywhere.
Schools and sports academies have also been hunting grounds for paedophiles if newspaper headlines and court cases are anything to go by.
A wealthy elderly having sexual relations with a minor or a university student has become so common that instead of addressing the issues, society has chosen to label the exploited many names, most common of which being “slay queen”.
The rampant sexual exploitation by those entrusted to care for children has driven United Kingdom-based mental health nurse, Jimmy Chasafara, to pen a novel titled “A Tigress in the Chapel”.
A well-crafted story spiced with some kinky sexual narrations, the book breaks the local traditional literature that often shies away from sexual issues.
“A Tigress in the Chapel” demystifies sexual relations and goes in-depth to explore orgies which have become common in the country and the deplored same sex relationships.
Chasafara employs a creative light and pleasurable writing to bring fourth heavy issues often ignored.
He addresses how the rich and powerful weaponise their would be victims’ poverty to coerce them into sexual relations.
The story is well told following the lives of two young school girls, Gigi and Zara, who at first seem so different yet their lives are ruined by the same institution; St Gabriels’ Secondary School whose founder, a church leader, and donors take turns to sexually abuse and assault students.
Gigi is bullied for not affording what should be basic supplies like sanitary wear.
Her lack which leads her to use tissues and newspapers during her monthly periods leads to curated public humiliation just to force her to submit herself to sexual exploitation at the hands of the school matron and chaplain officer.
Her father’s unfortunate arrest and her mother’s alcoholism leaves her at the mercy of school authorities who take turns abusing her.
Zara, another girl at the school, is used to rein her in and making subtle threats that refusal could lead to more bullying or even death.
It is a clear case of the abused, extending the abuse to others to save their own skin.
Even the chaplain’s wife, who has long suffered from mental health issues as a result of abuse from her childhood, and now at the hands of her husband who beds different school girls, extends the abuse as she engages in threesomes to please her husband.
“A Tigress in the Chapel” discusses how there can never be freedom without equality, how women can never be free, while they largely rely on men for provisions and how gender equality is vital in ensuring a healthy society.
Gigi’s belief in equality and freedom, in the end sees her take on a system laden with men from different fields, and in the end crushes it down.
The book is an inspiration for those facing abuse to find ways to free themselves, even when it seems the system is rigged against them.
Chasafara said the book was inspired by some of the incidents he witnessed both as a teacher in Zimbabwe and now as a mental health practitioner.
“As a teacher for more than 10 years in different provinces in Zimbabwe, sexual abuse stories especially in most secondary schools were a common thing,” he said.
“Some school heads, teachers, church leaders and other influential elites in the society were known to be discretely going out with some of their students. After publishing the book, I was flooded with both men and women who alleged having experienced this.”
Chasafara said some young girls were being married off to escape poverty.
“The story is still the same, sexual abuse, traumatic, life changing and some girls survive to be great while others die young,” he said.
“We then have rare courageous girls who fight to tell their story to the world.”
Chasafara said sexual exploitation was not only present in Africa, but in the western world as well.
“Being a mental health nurse in the UK enabled me to get to know more about the abuses in the western society too,” he said.
“A lot of patients talk of being sexually abused by relatives, powerful people in authority, for example in foster homes, schools, even by mental health and other professionals in the health sector.
“Sexual abuse by those in power is universal and can lead to various mental health issues, especially as most people abused don’t seek psychological help on time.”