Gweru (New Ziana) – Midlands police have raised concern over a spike in rape cases which are being perpetrated mainly on children by relatives or those close to them.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko said most rape cases happen mostly to vulnerable women and children both in rural and urban areas.
“They (rape cases) are committed by men usually trusted by victims or strangers, some trusted people take advantage and rape vulnerable women and young children while some are claimed to be influenced by traditional beliefs, poverty or other factors leading to child marriages,” he said.
Without giving statistics, Insp. Mahoko said reports show that most girls are raped while fetching firewood and such cases are reported when the victim is pregnant or when the parents discover that the child had been sexually abused.
Members of the public are being urged to report cases of abuse and to seek counseling for the victims.
“We appeal to members of the public to ensure that they report all cases of abuse or suspected abuse at any police station. Apart from ensuring that the criminals are taken to the courts for prosecution the victim gets closure thereby initiating a form of healing from trauma,” he said.
In trying to fight rape cases, the police are working with other organizations in training girls and women to be enlightened on how to guard themselves from rape as well as what to do when sexually abused.
“We are encouraging members of the public who are taking care of minors or mentally handicapped people regardless of gender, to constantly supervise them by ensuring that they are safe,” he added.
Insp. Mahoko urged the public to make use of suggestion boxes near them and to use social media platforms such as WhatsApp on numbers provided by the police.