A 17-YEAR-OLD Pumula East girl who endured 12 weeks of rape at the hands of her uncle when she was only 15 in 2011 resulting in her bearing a child, says her life has been hell.
The uncle, now 33, is serving a 20-year jail term for rape and the girl told Southern Eye that her maternal relatives once kicked her out of home for reporting the rape to the police.
Her father died when she was very young and does not know any of his relatives while her mother passed away in 2008 leaving her in the care of the rapist uncle who made sandals for resale.
After she was disowned by her mother’s relatives, she said life became tough for her and her two-year-old daughter, a product of the rape, as she has to survive on just $20 a month.
She gets $100 from lodgers she shares her late mother’s house with, but pays $80 in utility bills every month from the rentals.
Her plight came to the fore when the Bulawayo City Council disconnected water at the house for non-payment.
A local organisation Trinity Projects wrote to council highlighting her plight.
Trinity Projects in partnership with Child Line started the process of executing her mother’s estate so that the house could be transferred into her name.
Sitting on her bed balanced on bricks, she narrated her sad ordeal to Southern Eye.
She said she was advised in one of her counselling sessions to check for cervical cancer after continuously complaining about abdominal pains.
“I discovered that I had cervical cancer four months ago, but the doctors said it’s still treatable,” she said.
“I was given some tablets, but the doctor recently stopped me to see if the growth is increasing or not then he will prescribe other drugs.
“I started living with my uncle after the death of my mother.
“My grandmother had said that he should take me in, but he said he would rather move into my mother’s house with his wife and children and then pay school fees.
“When they moved in, he started fighting with his wife until she fled together with her children.
“That was when the rapes started. I was not allowed to leave the house except when I was going to school.
“When I was meant to start Form 2, he said I could not continue going to school as girls my age were already married.
“What followed were 12 weeks of sexual abuse. There was a female tenant at the house who upon noticing my behaviour advised that I report the matter to the police, but I could not because I was not allowed to go outside.
“My uncle then threatened the tenant against reporting the case, but she alerted neighbours who reported the matter,” she said.
She said her uncle fled the house, but would return at night and intimidate her trying to get her to withdraw the case.
“He had a key to the house and would come at night. He would strangle me and threaten me saying I should say I was impregnated by a male tenant, but I refused,” the girl said holding back tears.
“I was moved to a safe house run by Precious Life Ministries as my grandmother refused to take me in saying I had caused the arrest of her son,” she said.
“I was then moved to a safe house outside Bulawayo for the duration of the trial and only returned last year when my uncle was sentenced.
“He was on the run for a year and was finally caught at the Beitbridge border post trying to escape to South Africa.
“When I eventually came back last year, my grandmother chased me away and I was taken in by neighbours who have been very supportive to me. My other uncle came to live here, but he was evicted.”
She said by the time her uncle was arrested, her pregnancy was over 12 weeks old making it impossible to terminate it.
She said life has been tough for her as she had no money to look after her child as well as her needs.
She owes council $437 for water from previous tenants at the house who refused to pay.
An organisation assisted her with clothes six months ago, but her wish is get assistance to enable her to fend for herself instead of becoming a perpetual charity case.
“I want to go back to school and find employment so I can look after my child, but the $20 I remain with every month is not enough,” she added.
Council officials noted that the child was badly malnourished.
The local authority has taken an interest in the girl’s case.