CONTACT, as an organisation dealing with sexually abused cases was really encouraged to see in The Chronicle Edition of 23 September that the Regional Court has pronounced without fear and favour, a sentence of 30 years to a rapist, a prominent man of the church who has been abusing power, the authority and the trust vested in him by his followers, as reported.

The sentencing of the offender contributes to the restoration and rehabilitation of his victims’ self-confidence, self-esteem and dignity.

We would like to applaud the Tredgold Regional Court for a job well done in handling the above mentioned case.
This should be a lesson for other potential sexual abusers to desist from such a dehumanising offence and an encouragement to potential victims and to the community members to report any case of sexual abuse to the police.

Child sexual abuse has become an everyday topic in the daily newspapers. It has been noticed that in the majority of child sexual abuse cases, the perpetrators are very well-known persons to the child, i.e. neighbours, teachers, church leaders, relatives and friends.

This shows that child sexual abuse is mainly an abuse of power and authority. It is also a betrayal of the trust which the child has in the offender.

Consequently, this results to non-disclosure of the sexual abuse. Other reasons such as the intimidation of the victim by the perpetrator and family members and the protection of the perpetrator by the community or even the family are, also, noticed.

In most of these cases, the matters are delayed and often lenient sentences and some early and undue bail are given that discourage the victim from reporting and seeking justice.

CONTACT Family Counselling Centre, through its Child Sexual Abuse Department, offers comprehensive care services to sexually abused minors as part of its Child Protection programme which includes prevention and psychosocial support to the survivors of sexual abuse.

Reporting of the abuse and the consequent punishment is vital in the healing process of the victims.

The heavy sentencing in this case is a victory worth celebrating among all progressive programmers and citizens of Zimbabwe against sexual abuse. A strong message has been sent to all those who abuse their authority and power by taking advantage of suffering women and children.

Despina Madonko
Director, Contact Family Counselling Centre
Published by Sunday News ( 27 September – 03 October 2015)

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