By Peter Chivhima
THE scourge of drug and substance abuse in the high-density suburb of Hopley in Harare has reached alarming levels, with the latest case involving a rape incident of a two-year-old baby.
Tragedy is when a teenager becomes a mother and double tragedy when her own child is sexually exploited.
Such is the agony of 19-year-old Theresa (not her real name) from Hopley, a mother of three whose 2-year-old baby was allegedly raped by her 26-year-old neighbour.
“I was sleeping inside my house when I heard the girl who stays next my house saying the child was taken by our neighbour, but he didn’t take much time with her. When he returned her, the child said she wanted to sleep. But I was surprised by the time she woke up she started to cry non-stop and I tried to give her some Zap Nax but she cried even more. At around 8pm I looked at her private parts and I discovered that something wrong. Then I went to hospital where I got a report that she was abused,” she said.
With the prevalence of drug and substance abuse having gone out of hand, cases of children being sexually violated are becoming rampant.
“The issue of drug abuse is serious here and we suspect that the guy was under the influence of drugs, but it’s so painful that a man rapes someone who is two years,” said a neighbour.
“It pains us as parents that children here continue to be raped, but it seems that we are not getting enough help. I went together with the mother of the child to report the issue, but we have been told to seek an affidavit from the hospital so that they can open a docket for us,” said a friend.
“This is serious issue because the child was raped but only to be told that the alleged perpetrator is nowhere to be found,” said a community member.
Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the incident is being investigated.
“There is no law which compels the members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to demand an affidavit from someone who has come to report cases of alleged rape. So, we are going to make a follow up on the concerned police station. We want to assure that we are going to make a follow up,” he said.
Findings from the Zimbabwe Gender Commission National inquiry on marriages and sexual exploitation and abuse of young girls reveal that a number of children are being married off between the age of 14-15 years in the suburb, while those involved continue on the path of drug and substance abuse.