Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe last Friday reiterated the need to inculcate a culture of respect for women among the nation’s young men, especially as cases of rape are reportedly on the rise. In an interview after touring various stands, including the Adult Rape Clinic at the Harare Agricultural Show, Dr Mugabe said respect for women had to be promoted in schools. “I visited various stands; of course, my first port of call was the Adult Rape Clinic stand,” she said. “I think because of what is happening in society, those who initiated that programme realised that rape cases are on the increase and someone should do something.
“I am happy they have come up with that idea because what we have been discussing with them was that, yes, we can talk to the women on how to protect themselves, and talk to men on what they should not do in terms of rape, but it is very important to talk to the children in schools.
“They are the ones who are still growing, who are active and most of them are probably sexually active. It is imperative that we go to schools and conscientise our children on the repercussions of raping women or even boys because it is happening these days.”
Imparting this virtue to young men, the First Lady said, would make them alive to the fact that they inherently had to respect women.
“You are not just respecting your mother alone, but other women as well,” she said.
“When you see a woman anywhere, you should think about your mother, sister or your wife.
“It is something you do not want to happen to your relative. I think this was a very important initiative that the group decided to embark on.”
Dr Mugabe said the stands she visited were ably showcasing the country’s capacity as an agricultural giant, which justified the bitter struggle that was waged to reclaim land from white former settlers.
“I always say it is not by coincidence that we found ourselves being called Zimbabweans, but God intended that this country be for us Zimbabweans,” she said.
“What the Government did to empower its people by ensuring that the people get back their land was very important; now we can actually see the fruits of that programme.
“I urge Zimbabweans to continue working hard. When times are hard, we should not despair and we must remain as resilient as we have been before.
“And I can envisage good times ahead of us if we continue to be as hardworking and diligent as we have been before.”
Dr Mugabe said everything good came out of hard work.
She toured several stands at the show such as Belvedere Teachers College; Tobacco Research Board; Agriculture Produce Market; Home Industries; Pro Brands; Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development; Gushungo Holdings and Zimbabwe Farmers Union.