Thursday, 9 June 2022


A NATIONAL inquiry into child marriages, sexual exploitation and abuse of young girls commissioned by the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has revealed shocking and deep-rooted cases of child abuse in Hopley, Harare.

In an interview with H-Metro, ZGC deputy chairperson commissioner, Obert Matshalaga, expressed concern over the scourge of child marriages in the area.

“Most of the young girls are getting married at 14-15 years and what is most interesting is that some of them appear like they were indulging already in sexual activities,” he said.

Comm Matshalaga said the authorities in Hopley said young girls would come demanding sexual protection, as early as 10 years, which translates into early marriages.

“We have two or three cases where we heard a girl went away from home and came back late but was told to go back and I asked the lady why she returned to the boyfriend, instead of going to an uncle or aunt’s place, she responded by saying ‘in this environment I do not have them nearby’ so they end up going to the boyfriend,” he said.

“The most difficult thing is that normally they are accepted back by the boyfriend and the parents immediately try to initiate marriage processes unaware that it is illegal for them to marry when they are below 18.

“It’s a big problem.”

He said there was need to mobilise communities and identify ways of handling the situation.

“They say it’s a very difficult situation because one of the biggest problems that we have is that most of these young girls do not have birth certificates.

“The young men, once caught up in this processes, there is need for cooperation from the parents, to have somebody arrested, but where it’s a hash situation it’s very difficult,” Commissioner Matshalaga

“What is needed is to mobilise communities to police the process and to identify ways of handling the situation at community levels.”

Hopley residents, who attended the hearings, attributed the early marriages to high levels of poverty, peer pressure and drug and substance abuse. H Metro


Post a Comment