Sexual Abuse in Times of COVID-19.

Patience Mashiri

According to World Health Organisation 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical and or sexual violence by an intimate partner and violence against women tends to increase during every type of emergency, including epidemics.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has not spared some women in Chitungwiza a town on the outskirts of Harare from violence. Speaking to this publication Chitungwiza Ward 8 Councillor Maria Majoni said women were being harassed for minor issues such as cooking vegetables instead of meat. “There are women who come to me complaining that sometimes their husbands beat them for cooking sadza with vegetables not meat”

Cllr Majoni went to say that she has been dealing with increased numbers of rape and sexual assault ever since COVID-19 induced lock-downs, “We have young women coming report cases of rape and sexual harassment and in most cases perpetrators are elderly people very close to the victims”.

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“We have a number of support systems to help women who are sexually abused, Chitungwiza hospital is ready to help, we also have Shamwari Yemwana Sikana an organisation that deals with women issues. In our community we also have health workers who have the experience in counselling who are readily available to help”, said Cllr Majoni.

Collina Masaraure a nurse at Seke North Clinic in Makoni Chitungwiza confirmed dealing with increased cases of sexual abuse, “COVID-19 has seen many children being abused, we recently dealt with a case of a ten year old boy who was sexually abusing his 2 year old girl. When asked why he had abused his sister, he said they were forced to stay indoors due to COVID-19 and he got tired of the same routine”.

“We also have a program for women to get checked by a doctor for sexually transmitted diseases after being abused, 2-3 people come weekly and some times more cases of sexual violence” explained Collina Masaraure.

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