By Andile Tshuma
Police have arrested two men who shot a video while brutally assaulting a girl (15) for allegedly having love affairs with both of them at Phumuza village in Plumtree.
The video which has gone viral has angered women rights activists and a majority of netizens on social media who have demanded justice for the under-age girl. The abusers were only identified on social media as Peter and Lija.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele confirmed the incident yesterday but declined to name the suspects saying the matter was being handled by the courts.
“They were arrested but I cannot comment as they have already appeared in court,” said Chief Inspector Ndebele.
Court officials, however, yesterday said the matter was not yet in court and the pair is expected to appear today.
Sources said the men would be charged with assault and having sex with a minor.
It is alleged that the love triangle turned sour when the men, aged 25 and 28 discovered they shared the same girl.
The pair is seen ordering the girl to lie on the ground while they take turns to assault her with big sticks.
“I want to give you 10 strokes but if you move, we’ll start back at one,” one of the men says.
The pair repeatedly tell the victim they want to teach her a lesson and stop her from being a prostitute.
Sources said the victim was taken to hospital and a medical report to ascertain the extent of the injury is pending.
Gender activist and MDC-T proportional representative for Bulawayo South, Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said the video was appalling.
“I could not stand the video. That was very cruel. Something is just wrong in our society. It is because of the upbringing and partly a matter of choice. Girls must be taught at an early age about their worth and that they must not take such kind of treatment from anyone,” she said.
“Men must be taught as boys to respect women as they may have observed such treatment of women in the home. It is so bad because we have normalised something that is abnormal. It is so bad that the girl was beaten, but it is quite appalling that someone had the nerve to film the act. You wonder what has become of the human race.”
She urged women and girls not to fear anyone and to report all forms of abuse.
“If it was not for the recording, we would not have known that she went through this. So many things go unreported and women must not take this treatment. It is not only the poor, it happens to the rich as well as I have witnessed some women in fancy places being assaulted by partners in public, especially at bars. It’s wrong,” said Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
Members of the public took to Twitter and Facebook to express their distaste at the men’s conduct and the trauma that the victim of the beating must have experienced.
“These men are evil. They deserve the same kind of beating and worse. Hopefully, they will be caught and justice gets served. How can they hit with all their might on human flesh (sic). What has this world come to?” asked Ms Sibonakele Nhliziyo on Facebook.
“Men need better role models. This is bad. We cannot afford to have this kind of behaviour. My thoughts are with the child,” said Mr Simba Moyo on Twitter. The Chronicle