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Rise In Bulawayo Rape Cases Involving Relatives Worrying!

Every day, 22 women are raped in Zimbabwe!

In a disturbing revelation, Binga magistrates’ court in Matabeleland North province, is recording a significant number of rape prosecutions involving close family members, particularly cousins.

According to studies, rape by a relative or family member is a deeply traumatic experience. It can shatter a victim’s sense of trust and safety, especially during formative years. Repeated abuse compounds the negative impacts, both immediate and long-term, on the victim’s life and worldview.

The fear of retaliation from the perpetrator often delays victims, especially in rural areas, from reporting abuse. This forces them to endure the suffering at the hands of someone close to them. Many women and girls who are abused by relatives are forced to continue living with or near their abusers. Even when they attempt to report the abuse, they may fear being killed.

A case in point is that of a 16-year-old boy from Siamputeni Village 44, Chishizya area under Chief Sinamagonde in Binga, Matabeleland North Province who allegedly raped his 17-year-old cousin before brutally chopping her body into pieces after she threatened to report him to her mother.

The boy’s alleged actions left his community in shock when after allegedly raping his cousin, he went on to chop her head and left limb with an axe before removing pieces of flesh with a knife from her back, right thigh and abdomen, leaving the intestines exposed.

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In a similar case, a 12-year-old girl from Kokoloza Village in Lusulu was also allegedly sexually assaulted by her 23-year-old male cousin while they were herding cattle. After the alleged rape, the perpetrator threatened to kill her if she ever revealed the matter to anyone.

In a recent case highlighting the increasing number of abuses against girls, particularly in rural areas, which is also before Binga magistrates’ court, an 11-year-old girl from Sinamasanga Village in the Siabuwa area was allegedly raped by her 18-year-old cousin.

This incident also serves as a stark reminder that such abuse can occur even at the hands of those considered close family members. The circumstances are that on 14 April 2024, the perpetrator, whose name is being withheld to protect the victim, was left with the victim while her parents went to a funeral.

It is reported that the accused refused to attend the funeral and remained at the homestead with the victim. It is alleged that when everyone else went to sleep, the accused was given a separate room, while the victim slept in another room with her six-year-old sibling.

At around 8pm, taking advantage of the complainant’s parents’ absence, the accused reportedly went to the room where the victim was sleeping. When he knocked on the door and realised that there was no response to his knock, he entered the unlocked room.

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After gaining entry the accused got hold of the victim and started caressing her. He went on to undress the victim and made her to lie on the bed facing upwards before he allegedly raped her.

The accused’s luck ran out when a relative arrived at the homestead at around 5am to check on them.

When the relative first looked in the accused’s assigned sleeping room he could not find him. He was, however, shocked when he saw the accused coming from the room where the victim was sleeping.

He was then told by the victim that the accused had forcibly had sexual intercourse with her.

The relative in question then alerted other villagers, and the accused fled. He was eventually apprehended at Mujeri Fishing Camp while attempting to find transport to cross the border to Zambia.

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The accused has since appeared before Binga resident magistrate Victor Mpofu charged with rape. He was not asked to plead and was remanded in custody until 6 May.

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