Written by – Tabita Nakamba
My parents divorced when I was nine years old, my mother was awarded custody, and I only got to see my father once a week or once in two weeks. Life with my mother was chaotic, unstable and often depressing. When her working male cousin came to live with us, we thought things would be better now that we had a man in the house. I was his favourite niece, and I would be so happy around him, little did I know what was on his mind.
I still remember that day so well, I did not go to school and was home alone, he knocked off from work, as usual, I was happy to see him, we exchanged our greetings, and I continued about my business in the house. He called me and started to tell me about how he wanted to teach me how to be good in bed, I was so shocked and confused he could see it on my face, he said it is alright if I didn’t want but made me promise that never should I tell anyone about the conversation we had. The next time he practically tried to force himself on me, I screamed and shouted for help, but there was nobody near, by the grace of God I managed to force my way out of his hands before anything could happen. Sadly enough, news got out that he raped my young cousin where he had gone to stay, up to date nobody knows his where-about. Sometimes I ask myself what he found so attractive about me to make him want to molest me. Was it the carefree smile that glinted with innocence? In the end, my childhood was taken away from me. what causes Men like these to think along these lines I will never know.
It is from this past I draw my passion as an activist; there are thousands of girls who go through similar situations and worse, I these unreported cases every day in my community. Despite the sensitizations, every day a girl is molested, a woman is raped or abused by her husband. Imagine a 6 weeks old baby being molested and abused, imagine an 86 years old woman being raped by 5 men, imagine a 102 years old woman being raped, WHAT A SHAME MOTHER ZAMBIA!!!…where are we going as a country, where are our morals, what happened to the spirit of Ubuntu that we’ve always been known for? 627 cases of child sexual abuse, of which all the victims were girls just in the first quarter of 2017 and by November the record stood at 1,466, according to police records. These are reported cases, the numbers are likely to be more, for both boys and girls.
Maybe we need stiffer punishments for rape and Molestation cases? Maybe there is need to reinforce current legislative laws to curb such vices across the country. Providing tougher punishments on culprits would send a strong signal to the would-be offenders? If caution is not taken, these cases will get out of hand and will have many negative effects on the victims such as unwanted pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Women who are molested or abused can either become frigid or promiscuous. Majority of prostitutes were sexually abused or molested according to studies.
As the youths of Zambia shed their unpardonable tears for the hope of seeing a change and redeemed youth and children. The once adorned glamorous garden of Zambia is slowly being eroded as our light is becoming dim, you see it on the media, you see it on the streets during the day and night, you hear it everywhere, and when you observe carefully you will see it even in respectable homes. Every one of us needs to put their hands together and help in reducing the escalating number of defilement and rape cases. The fight shouldn’t be left in the hands of women alone, men too need to take a stance.
The onus is on every one of us to find a role we can play in curbing these cases. A Zambia free from defilement and rape is possible!!!
My story is a good example why we should empower women. If my Mother had a job and means of providing for herself and for us, we would not have been put in the position where we had to rely on another Man to provide for us.
- James, J. & Meyerding, J. Arch Sex Behav (1978) 7: 31. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01541896