By Takudzwa Chikakayi
When I grow up, I want to be more powerful than the sick old man who tore my hymen… Before the age of 10, I was already familiar with the crackling cords of labour pain against the dreams ekumahumbwe.
The words are an excerpt from a poem entitled “At 9,” penned down by a University of Zimbabwe law student named Gladman Madawaenda. The playwright and story teller has a number of prodigious pieces of work which are pregnant with meaning like Curves Of A Woman, Nherera, He Screams In Silence, Dzimba Dzemabwe and The War Cry.
In the poem At 9 Madawaenda bewails the decadence that has ravaged the moral fabric of our society.
He notes that salacious men can be attributed to the death of our social structure requiring society to urgently address these issues instead of sweeping them under the carpet.
Madawaenda questions why the young, innocent and vulnerable girl child in society is falling prey to lecherous old men who find sexual pleasure in raping her.
In the words of a young woman who spoke on condition of anonymity, “the poem At 9, is my life in a text and I am sure of many others out there. When I heard him recite at an event, I teared up as I walked away from the crowd to a place of solitude.”
They say it takes a community to raise a child but to whom shall we run to and confide in, if those that are to protect and groom us are the ones finding pleasure in penetrating and erecting through our legs she said.
“I found myself trapped between the jaws of motherhood and childhood expected to feed a baby when I was still expecting to be fed and still learning how to deal with my monthly cycle,” said the young lady.
She speaks of how difficult it can be for a victim and survivor to open up about the abuse and seek help.
It is so harrowing, heartrending and very unfortunate that those that have custody upon us or those close to us seem to have their hands tied, just when we have gathered up the courage to let them know what we would have gone through, or is it conspiracy, fear or complacency? I wonder she expressed.
“In my case, “Sekuru vakati zvinyarare,ambuya vakati zvisiire mumaoko aMwari muzukuru and when I entrusted their son, baba from Harare, they took me to a home hanzi ave kurwara nepfungwa,”she said.
In response to a question on the effects of the incident, the young woman said, “It took me years to be able to converse about it, I felt as if I lost my self-worth and my self-esteem and confidence had surely depreciated. I dreamt about the number of times sekuru would grope all over my body and fondle my nipples before he would insert his erection would find its way through my trembling legs.”
He would not forget to give me a hard slap and throw my body hitting the floor with a thud after he would have quenched his libido she added.
Sister to the young lady in question, only identifiable as Tariro, spoke of how she heavily detests father figure or men who are attracted to young girls failing to take into account the age difference between them but lustily hunts for that which is between their legs.
Ndakakurumura pakuyamwa kunze kwekunge ari mahumbwe hakuna mwana anoita mai,woratidza kukosha kwehumhandara toti hoooo-o urishasha uchiri mwana kunyangwe zvazvo ndakarumura pakuyamwa.Humhandara idamba kamwe nokudaro kudzikama ndiyo nzira imwe takabva neko kare kare mwanagu muzivi wenzira yeparuware ndiye mufambi wayo
These lyrics of a song by Jah Prayzah, reflect words of a father to his daughter concerning early marriage and how a daughter should protect her virginity.
In the words of academics Munyaradzi Nyakudya and Bridget Chinouriri: “Music has enormous capacity for social transformation and musicians have recognised and appreciated this reality and strove to uphold the rights of various marginalized groups.”
It is heartrending that while a plethora of musicians have gone out of their way to speak out against the sexual abuse of young girls, the vice continues unabated in our society.
Social entrepreneur and life coach, Faith Chipangura speaks of how society ought to take extra caution in dealing with cases of abuse to avoid adverse effects on the victims.
“Harsh punishments should be imposed on these perpetrators, but for that to be possible, it starts with the immediate family members and those around the victim. Report, take the victim for counselling sessions and let her receive the treatment needed.”
Social commentator and associate professor in the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Johannesburg, Professor Admire Mare said society should collaboratively deal with these perpetrators of violence and abuse.
“It is unfair to let our daughters conceal their tears and bury their fears within bottling up the traumatic experiences without making efforts to see to it that the perpetrators face the consequences. Our daughters cannot go through the ordeal experiences of being forced to partake in these non-consensual acts and face it alone.”
Section 9 of the Zimbabwean constitution provides that the state should adopt policies and measure to ensure that children are protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse.
A report from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises and Development shows that 220 Zimbabwean minors were raped between January and September out of a total of the 435 reported rape cases.