Read this story before my commentary-by Betty Makoni
Five different men had sex with an orphaned girl at five different times. When the girl testified in court she said she was in love with one of the the men who according to present law in Zimbabwe is the alleged rapist. The law in Zimbabwe is very clear; sex with a girl under 16 is statutory rape and sex with a girl under 12 whether she consents or not is rape. She is only 12 years and the law says that she is a minor. Some of the men had sex with her well before she turned 12. In court she had to face a defence lawyer who asked questions to do with her past sexual life. The child revealed many men had sex with her? That gave the female defence lawyer leeway to prove the girl was loose and so the older men ranging from 21 to 26 years old had done no wrong continuing with sex adventures on a child they were supposed to protect as adults. Even though the girl was a minor then noone person in court stood up for her to insist that even if she said yes to sex the law says No.
The magistrate judged the case from a moral point of view where in the end the girl was taken to be loose and an attitude that she called trouble for herself. I am just thinking what really goes on in the mind of a defence lawyer who is female and has been a girl herself when she stands face to face interrogating a minor in court and making all efforts for her male rapist clients to walk scot free? Does she not know orphaned girls are more vulnerable? Does she understand at age 12 a girl does not consent to sex? If so why did she try hard to prove the girl`s past sexual history is to blame rather than that indicating this is a minor at risk and needing protection? It must be very hard defending rapists who take turns to rape a minor. This is gang rape and well organised syndicate we are very familiar with. Sometimes they refer each other to the same girl and being the child she is, easily succumbs to pressure and gives in. But also the prosecutor is also male. The attitude is the same. A girl or woman considered loose has no sympathy in our communities .Whether they are wronged or not, their crime is that once they are viewed as loose then everyone takes advantage of them. It is the same stereotyping that caused the justice team to throw out the case of this 12 year old girl and let the men pay a small fine of $200. The female defence lawyer fought very hard for the men to be let to go whilst the prosecutor watched and could not stick to his guns and defend this unfortunate girl. There was no social worker and the aunt to the girl represents the old traditional system of labelling girls who have early sex. She condemned her own child and supported defence team. She was virtually in sympathy with the rapists. She felt the men were trapped into sex. The 12 year old girl had noone in court to help her understand she is a minor in need of protection.
Many people contacted me on lenient sentence given to the five men who had sex with this minor and there was outrage out there on what am doing about it. Well I do something daily. I tell the government of Zimbabwe to protect children and never let rapists go scot-free. If I had other powers like magistrates in this case have, then these men should rot in jail. The fact that the men were fined 200 dollars each makes mockery of my previous efforts to have deterrent sentences for rapists. How can $200 be the punishment for a child whose life is destroyed like this? My reaction is to remind everyone that a 12 year old girl is strictly a child in need of care. Every man who said they had sex with her must get stiffer punishment to deter other would be rapists. This case has opened way for many men to rape 12 year olds under guise of being their boyfriends. Some girls who are 12 years old are just babies we must protect as parents, government and general public. Wherever we see any man having an affair with a little girl we must report immediately.
Magistrate Mr Rodgers Kachambwa and Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza are the government representatives in this case. Two of the men had to pay $200 as fine for having sex with a minor. Rape is a serious crime in Zimbabwe and it has mandatory custodial sentence and just wonder why the men walked away with paying money as if to pay for sexual services they received from a minor. It is very ironic. Does it mean men can have sex with girls and then men pay government for services offered? How can they let rapists slip away just like that? Here is an opportunity to have investigated the five men more in case this is not the only child they are raping. The justice system let the child down and allegedly making her tell an open court of adults that she had sex with men further exposed the child and took blame on her. In this case where a minor was taken advantage of the magistrate could have referred case to a team of expert social workers and trained counselors to examine this case.It is not a case of falling in love-this is a syndicate of paedophiles taking advantage of minors.Love does not hurt a body of a minor and leaves it damaged physically and conditioned to abuse to a level where she openly takes it as norm. The child needed a social report and a trained counsellor to examine whether she understands what falling in love is or else what as a minor she thinks is love is betrayal by society.
For a female lawyer defending rapists like Ms Karen Muyangwa of Mabuye from Zvarevashe legal practitioners, as a woman it must be very hard to see you asking a minor such questions in order for alleged rapists to win their case.It must be a very hard job and one you would not want to talk about daily. I find it next to impossible as a woman to defend rapists .Some jobs are very hard choices we make- a woman defending rapists and interrogating a child to an extent she says yes these are boyfriends and yet to a good educated woman one can sense these are monsters taking advantage of a child. I strongly feel all questions you posed to a child of this age to an extent her exposing rapists to the court is taken as confession is morally wrong. When a child tells court men had sex with her at age 12 know that at this age the law says a minor does not consent. So the list of men she brought up does not justify the rape she experienced from one of them.
The aunt of the girl never showed sympathy and social services in Zimbabwe must monitor members of the extended family like her who look after children. If she has daughters or sons she brought up a in loving home then she must make her home more loving for this child. Many children who escape to find love with these rapists lack parental love and care. A child who is loved never goes to a rapist and leaves a good homes.Most homes orphaned children live in are hell. Ask me about abusive relatives and my 600 page autobiography names and shames them one by one.
When female defence lawyers stand to ensure rapists walk scot free and then male magistrates and prosecutors agree, then the question remains on whether girls will be safe? It is almost watching as an atomic bomb is thrown to destroy a defenceless minor. The female defence lawyer won her case and rapists are back in our