By Leonard Ncube
A seven-year-old Victoria Falls girl who was allegedly raped by her cousin a year ago, used a suggestion box to report the assault.
The girl had, through her teacher, reported the sexual assault to her parents but no action was taken.
The complainant was allegedly raped by her 25-year-old cousin at the family home in Victoria Falls sometime last year.
She reported the rape to her class teacher in March this year during a lesson on child abuse.
The teacher (name withheld to protect the toddler) advised the girl’s parents and they decided to protect the abuser, hence the rape was not reported to the police.
Seeing that no justice had been done, the girl wrote a letter which she put in a suggestion box at her school two weeks ago.
After seeing the lettter, the headmistress Mrs Chido Maringanise reported the rape to the police, leading to the accused’s arrest.
Police spokesperson for Matabeleland North province Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese confirmed the arrest of the suspect on Tuesday.
“On an unknown date and time last year the accused called the complainant into one of the bedrooms where he raped her once. The girl didn’t tell anyone about the issue,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
“On March 1 this year after a child abuse lesson at her school, she revealed the rape to her class teacher who advised her parents. The parents decided to protect the abuser hence they did not report the rape to the police. On 17 October, the girl wrote a letter and put it in the school’s suggestion box which was then seen by the school head who made a report on Tuesday,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
The complainant was taken to Victoria Falls Hospital for medical examination while her cousin was arrested.
Chief Insp Makonese said investigations are in progress and the accused is expected to appear in court for rape.
She bemoaned moral decay in society where cases of child abuse are mostly committed by relatives and trusted guardians.
Chief Insp Makonese appealed to stakeholders to play a part in fighting abuse, and praised the brave girl for taking it upon herself to expose the crime after being empowered with information.
“As police we work in collaboration with other stakeholders including teachers and parents when it comes to children protection because it’s everyone’s responsibility.
“We want to applaud the little girl for standing for her rights and advise all children not to be afraid of disclosing any form of abuse. The school head did well by reporting the crime which was almost swept under the carpet because we want a free and conducive environment for children at home, school and even in the streets. We appeal to parents not to entrust children’s custody to anyone even if they are relatives,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
Meanwhile, Hwange district recorded a general increase in cases of abuse between January and September this year compared to the same period last year.
Attempted rape of adults and kids cases rose from nine to 24 while cases of sex with juveniles rose from 126 to 147. Fifty cases of rape of adults were recorded up from 34 while child rape cases fell from 139 to 117.
Twenty cases of indecent assault on adults were recorded up from nine while those on minors were 22 up from 21. Three children suffered aggravated indecent assault compared to two last year. The Chronicle