3 MONTHS 233 RAPES 11 males abused 11-16 age group worst affected No HIV tests for some victims
A TOTAL of 233 females, among them a significant number of girls aged less than five years were sexually abused in Bulawayo in the last three months, official statistics show.
A third quarter report which covers July, August and September from the National Aids Council (Nac) indicates that a majority of the victims did not get counselling and were not tested for HIV.
Eleven males also suffered sexual abuse in the city during the same period.
The worst affected age group among the sexually abused was those aged 11 to 16 years where, of the 108 girls who were abused, only 75 managed to get counselling.
The report shows 31 girls and four boys aged below five years fell victim to sex predators in the three months.
A total of 42 girls and three boys aged between five and 10 years were abused while 34 females and one male aged between 17 and 24 years were sexually abused.
The report indicates that 18 women aged above 25 years suffered abuse.
Nac says the number of sexual abuse cases in the province is high given that only 180 of the total figure tested for HIV.
“We recorded a total of 244 people who were sexually abused in the period under review. Of the total which managed to get tested, four women aged 17-25+ were found to be HIV positive.
“We managed to give Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to 53 women in all the four age groups that were used in coming up with the statistics. The youngest age group had children aged from zero to five followed by those aged five to 10,” said Nac.
Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says PrEP is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV.
The Nac study also incorporated members of the public aged 11 to 16; 17 to 24 and the oldest age group had people aged 25 and above.
“About 22 percent of the total people who were abused are receiving post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Unfortunately the most affected age group in males is the zero-five age group,” it says.
CDC says PrEP involves taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected. PrEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV.
Police have always urged parents to monitor their children whenever they are playing and encourage them to speak out if anyone touches them inappropriately.
They have also warned young adults against going to parties or events where they are usually plied with beer and drugs and eventually get sexually abused.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba recently said at least 325 cases of juvenile rape are recorded every month.
The figures translate to 11 minors being raped in the country every day. The police spokesperson said it was worrying that people who are close to the minors were the ones sexually assaulting them. — @thamamoe . ONE of the country’s most prominent churches, Zaoga, has been a target for robberies in Bulawayo, with criminals hitting four of its branches in the city this month.
Police have since advised churches to deposit tithes and offerings into banks and employ security guards on their premises to deter thieves.
Robbers allegedly struck at four Zaoga church branches in Nkulumane, Entumbane, North End suburbs and city centre within a three-week period.
In one of the incidents two suspects armed with a wheel spanner attacked a woman they found praying in the church at about 1AM.
Acting Bulawayo police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Abednico Ncube said two suspects who attacked the woman on November 2 in Nkulumane, got away with nothing.
“They pounced at the church at about 1AM where they attacked the security guard and a female congregant they found praying in the church building. The woman was hit with a spanner on the jaw and fell unconscious,” he said.
“The robbers then proceeded to the caretaker’s house where they found the second woman whom they struck with the spanner on the jaw. The woman screamed and another woman peeped through the window and the robbers saw her before giving chase.”
Asst Insp Ncube said the armed robbers attacked the woman before tying her up with a rope and wire and disappeared with nothing.
He said the following day robbers pounced on the church’s branch in Entumbane and North End suburbs, as well as another in the city centre.
“The robbers broke into a church in North End where they stole a PA system. In the same week they also broke into the church’s branch in Fife Street where they got away with $100,” he said.
He urged churches to avoid hoarding large sums of money, saying tithes and offerings have become targets for robbers.
“We’ve a strong conviction that some of these robbers have intelligence of what would be happening in the churches that’s why a single church was targeted four times in the same month,” he said.
Asst Insp Ncube said police are hunting for the suspects who will face charges ranging from attempted murder, unlawful entry, and theft.
Meanwhile, police have urged members of the public to be wary of criminals and secure their properties as the country approaches the festive season.
Asst Insp Ncube said the festive season results in many Diasporans coming to the city and criminals try to take advantage of the situation.
The festive season runs from December 15 to January 15.
“It’s against this background that as police we urge members of the public to take interest in protecting their properties through target hardening and target removal,” said Asst Insp Ncube.
He said members of the public must increase security at their homes to make it difficult for criminals to break in.
Asst Insp Ncube urged the public and business sector to avoid keeping large sums of money in their homes or offices.
He said fuel stations are some of the areas that have become targets for robbers, urging them to bank their daily takings. — @nqotshili.
The Zaoga Church in Bulawayo’s Nkulumane suburb