VIOLENCE or the fear of violence might be an important reason for most girls particularly in rural areas not attending school.
Besides being in itself an infringement of girls’ rights, that violence against girls which takes many forms including rape, sexual harassment, intimidation, teasing and threats is also denying those girls from rural areas their right to education.
Research has shown that many girls in Zimbabwe especially in rural communities hardly report cases of sexual abuse for fear of being stigmatised, fear of the unknown, a culture of silence and lack of education.
A disturbing incident of two men Meluleki Ncube (28) and Thembinkosi Moyo (21) from Malayitsha Village in Mayobodo area in Plumtree, Matabeleland South Province who brutally assaulted a 14-year-old girl who is doing Grade Seven at St Mary’s Primary School as punishment for double crossing them has exposed the dark side of life in rural areas where girls are very vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse.
The incident might also be an indication that behind every reported sex and physical abuse case, in rural areas there might be six hidden cases unreported.
Details of the horrifying case are that on 6 August and at around 8pm Ncube was in the company of Moyo when they phoned the victim whose name is being withheld for legal reasons and asked her to meet them outside their homestead.
The seemingly unsuspicious girl agreed and when she came out to meet the two, Ncube asked her why she was in love with both of them.
Before she responded Ncube slapped her once on the face and she fled from the scene.
It is reported that Moyo then chased after the victim and tackled her and she fell down.
While she was lying down, he started hitting her with a thick wooden stick several times all over the body.
Ncube later joined him and also started hitting the victim with a thick wooden stick.
After the attack the girl who sustained bruises all over her body went and reported the matter to the police leading to the arrest of Ncube and Moyo.
The duo appeared before Plumtree magistrate Joshua Nembaware charged with physical abuse as defined in Section 3 (1) (a) as read with Section 4 of the Domestic Violence Act Chapter 5:16.
They both pleaded guilty to the charge and were remanded out of custody for sentencing.
In mitigation they pleaded for the court’s mercy saying they were drunk when they committed the offence.
Voster Makuwerere appeared for the State.