CONTACT Family Counselling Centre on Thursday held commemorations to mark 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence at a function at Mbonqane Primary School in Umguza.
The celebrations, running under the theme “Stop it Now, Prevent Child Sexual Abuse: Sivikeleni Bo!” were held to educate the community on child sexual abuse in rural areas.
Founder and director of Contact Family Counselling Centre, Despina Madonko, addressed people on the importance of speaking out in the event that one gets abused.
“We should not sweep abuse under the carpet because silence breeds more abuse,” she said.
The officer in charge of ZRP Pumula and representative of the Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) Khami District, Inspector Peacemore Sibanda,
educated villagers on the importance of reporting of abuse cases immediately.
“I know most of us did not know that it is possible to stop the HIV virus from entering the body if the matter is reported quickly,” he said.
“Medical examinations can actually be performed on rape victims and they can be given medication to prevent them from contracting the virus if the perpetrator was HIV positive.
“If you report a rape case within 72 hours, the VFU can help you and you can be assured of confidentiality.”
A number of cases related to child sexual abuse where reported to the police and Contact Family Counselling Centre this year, the latest being one of a 15-year-old girl (name withheld) who was recently rescued from marriage to a divorcee in the village.
The matter was reported to the police, who involved Contact Counselling Centre and together they transferred the girl to another school and helped her find accommodation at a safe place.
The celebrations educated villagers through drama, poetry and lectures that the new Constitution has provisions to protect women, girls and the family from gender-based violence and child abuse.