Harare (New Ziana)-THE sexual abuse of young girls exposes them to sexually transmitted infections such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV,) which causes cancer later in life, an association of gynaecologists said on Monday.
Last week, just as the country was yet to come to terms with the rape and impregnating of a 9-year-old Tsholotsho girl, another 9-year-old minor was raped and fell pregnant in Bindura.
The Tsholotsho girl last week delivered the baby through caesarean section.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said early sexual indulgence exposes young girls to infections such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer later in life.
Genital trauma can also result during intercourse with possible deleterious long-term effects.
“Their bodies are not biologically ready for pregnancy, and they are at greater risk of pregnancy related complications. In addition, the girls are exposed to severe psychological trauma, mental ill health as well as social effects including dropping out of school and stigmatization,” the association said.
It said children and youths need to be protected while awareness and education campaigns on sexual abuse should be intensified in schools and in communities.
“Every voice, added to the call to stop gender-based violence makes a difference. Parents, caregivers, guardians, policy makers, law enforcement, educators, health workers, social workers, community leaders, religious leaders and members of the community, the voices of our children and the youth, the future of any nation should be actively sought and heard as we take a stance against gender-based violence.
“We would therefore like to implore all stakeholders to increase collaborative efforts to ensure we protect our children from the devastation of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. It is everyone’s responsibility,” the association said.