Shortage of safe houses accelerates rape cases in Hwange.

By Sikumbuzo Nyoni

A shortage of safe houses in the mining town has worsened the situation for children in Hwange as they
become more vulnerable since at times they are forced to live with perpetrators.
The Victim Friendly Unit Hwange office, last week revealed that there has been an increase of rape
cases. VFU reported 31 cases while in January to November 30, 2022, 54 cases have been reported.
Several civic society organisations have acknowledged that additional safe housing is needed.
Sithabile Ncube from Rose of Charity Children’s home said there is need for safe house for rape
“Safe accommodation allows survivors to temporarily escape abusers. Though, it makes guaranteeing
the safety of survivors, who remain at home a challenge given that perpetrators know where to reach
them and may have access to the home.
“That’s why we need a multi-stakeholder approach. The police must be included for the safety of
survivors,” says Sithabile Ncube, a partner at Rose of Charity Children’s Home in Victoria Falls.
Meanwhile, the CSO revealed that low morale in various homes caused by COVID-19 induced economic
stress and long periods indoors is considered the main cause of Gender Based Violence (GBV).
One of the country’s leading organisation in ending GBV, Musasa Project normally records between 500
and 600 cases per month. But, during the lockdown they recorded more numbers in a week.
UNFPA Country Representative for Zimbabwe, Dr Esther Muia says women and girls sharing the same
space with their abusers during lockdowns were able to access services during that time.
“Self-quarantine or isolation and the limited freedom of mobility that generated from the national
framework for Covid-19 response, including lockdown, will likely impact on the women’s and girls’
ability to access basic family resources. But we continue working to provide services to survivors,” said
The increasing cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of girls, intimate partner violence, trafficking and
violence against women with the impending cycle is worrying.

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