‘Bush boarders’ sexually abused


Shame Isaki Mutare Correspondent
A Murambinda prostitute had unprotected sex 14 times with a 15-year-old boy. The details of the teenager’s abuse were contained in a report presented to the Victim Friendly Coordinating Committee (VFCC) last week by the Manicaland chapter of the Department of Social Welfare. The report was one of the many presented by different stakeholders at the meeting. In its report, the Department of Social Welfare indicated that the student at one time had sexual intercourse with the prostitute barely a few hours after he had been circumcised.

Also, a survey carried out in Buhera district by Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), a non-governmental organisation, noted that over 300 school-children were living without any form of parental supervision. It was established that the school children in question rented rooms at business centres or in villages closer to their learning institutions.

Most of the children, boys and girls, live by themselves in an arrangement commonly called “bush boarding”. This exercise is said to have exposed cases of child marriages, privacy invasion, bullying, sexual abuse, substance abuse and other forms of unbecoming behaviour by children due to lack of adult supervision.

A quarter of the girls interviewed disclosed that strange men had knocked on their doors on different times during the night. The men demand sex. Thirteen girls confessed that both known and unknown males had forcibly entered their rooms only to flee when the girls had screamed for help.

The students did not report the intrusions to police or authorities as they did not consider them serious offences. The VFCC chairperson and Mutare regional magistrate, Mrs Loice Mukunyadzi, said such cases were prevalent and disturbing. She said it could lead to prosecution of parents or guardians as it was their responsibility to take care of the minors.

In an unrelated development, Mrs Mukunyadzi expressed concern at the alarming rate at which pastors and prophets were being jailed for sexually related offences.

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