By Thandeka Moyo
A 16-YEAR-OLD Bulawayo girl was on Tuesday allowed to drop sexual abuse charges against her step- father (43) after saying he is the family’s breadwinner.
The girl from Sidojiwe Flats who cannot be named for ethical reasons successfully withdrew the charges after the State, led by Nkathazo Dlodlo, accepted her affidavit.
In her affidavit the girl said: “I reported a case at Donnington Police Station on September 14 this year against my step-father. Now I wish to withdraw the case because we sat as a family and decided to solve the matter amicably,” she said.
“The accused is a breadwinner in our family and he apologised to me and I have accepted the apology. No one forced me to withdraw the case, it was my decision,” she wrote.
An official from the Judiciary Services Commission who commented on conditions of anonymity said in such cases the magistrate’s hands were tied and therefore the court could not do anything.
“When the State accepts the withdrawal of a case, the magistrate has no powers to proceed with the case because it is the State which prosecutes,” she said.
The official said it was unfair for the complainant who was probably coerced by family members to withdraw the charges.
Women’s groups have repeatedly complained about many child abuse cases that are not reported because of relatives who are protecting culprits. The few bold victims that have defied relatives and reported abuse cases to either their teachers or the police have been persecuted and in most cases by close relatives who would rather have them suffer in silence than cause the arrest of the culprits.
According to the State outline, sometime in April this year at around 8PM, the accused person called his step-daughter. He then told her that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her and the girl refused and went back to her bed.
The man followed her and then forced himself into her blankets. Thereafter he started fondling her privates.
“The girl pushed him away and he went back to his bed. Afterwards the matter was reported to the residents committee of Sidojiwe flats who advised her to report the matter to the police, leading to the accused’s arrest. The Chronicle