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What does it mean searching hymen inside an 18-yr-old daughter's vaginal opening? Hon Priscilla Mishihairabwi-Mushonga I need an

16 Sep 2020 at 14:17hrs | Views
Nomazulu Thata
Much as we would like to believe that our societies and families are holier than thou: far from it. We are worse off today, yesterday and a century ago. Violence against women and girl-children is prevalent in this country. We wonder still, despite the stringent measure taken by the government to enforce the rule of law when it comes to abuse of girl-children, statistics however, show that there is increase in child abuse, especially sexual abuse. Rape cases are reported daily: the worry about rape in this country is the fact that HIV/AIDS is a hotspot in southern Africa. Each time we hear rape we can also say that the girl has contaminated the disease including STDs also known as opportunists' HIV/AIDS infections.

The cases of violence have many manifestations: child marriages, elder abuse, corporal punishment, lobola/roora, economic abuse, domestic violence, forced labour, acid throwing; Virginity testing is also considered violence against girl-children. It diffable the mind when a father executes virginity testing on her own daughter. A man from Chiwaridzo in Bindura allegedly removed his daughter's pants to check if she is still a virgin. He inspected her and ordered her to leave the room! That our justice system views this incident a serious breach of law, it is highly commendable. Our problems are, however, are not solved by a single case; abuse of this nature persists and underreported. Not so long ago there was a female legislator who insisted the return of virginity testing in the country.

When we hear such cases of a psychopath who fondles genitals of her daughter to see if the hymen is still there, we think about the humiliation the girl had to endure in the process of determining it. Is that girl's life going to be normal again in her behaviour towards her father and other males in her life? We think about young girls who undergo genital cutting done by their aunties and grandmothers in the name of traditions and upholding the culture. The pain of cutting the delicate body-part of a little girl is unimaginable by normal senses. This act is maximum cruelty meted by the people you trust and love most. But these are occurrences that happen daily in different societies in Africa today. Curiously, most Africans still maintain that our culture and traditions are far better than Caucasian cultures. There are no virginity testing of girls in Europe and there are no genital cutting in Europe.

Last week in Kezi district of Matabeleland South, a woman was hacked to death by her husband. Again femicide cases are growing disproportionately. Our female legislators must be put to task and be asked: what are they doing regarding the rate of violence of various forms against women and girl-children. The political purges between MDC-T and MDC-Alliance is consuming precious time where legislators should be concerned about finding answers at parliament level to curb the scourge of domestic violence in our societies that has reached unprecedented levels. Girls as old as 10 to 12 years are seen in red lights eking out a living. How many children are in the streets without proper homes? Why are they not getting preference to solve their plight? Do we want such problems solved by Caucasian governments; how many times have Europeans endured insults and snares from us but still continue to donate and assist us because somehow they realize that if they do not donate food aid, our government will not care much about uncountable deaths due to hunger and starvation.

Dear Honourable Mishihairabwi-Mushonga, we love and hate your radical edge: a double bind. Your radicalism will go a long way to put women and girl-children's issues on the spot. We want our young women and girl-children to get better protection from the law. Laws such as virginity testing could be traditional, they must be banned. Virginity testing reduces young women's esteem, it is a humiliating experience: worse done by a male member supposedly her biological father. This case must be thoroughly interrogated by the law enforcement and establish reasons why he wanted to know the most secret aspect of her daughter's life: her virginity. This is supposed to be her privates and secrets only for herself and nobody else.

It could be that this twisted father is a paedophile: or he could be suffering from HIV/AIDS, was advised to look for a virgin to cure his HIV-status. It is common in Zimbabwe for men to target virgins thinking that sexual intercourse with them will cure their HIV-AIDS disease. Those twisted, barbaric and back of beyond witchdoctors diagnose such treatment to men if they approach them for medical consultations. In China, such incidences are taken care of well: paedophiles are executed by firing squad- rightly so. Let us imagine this: here is a man who is HIV-AIDS sick: he targets young girls even babies to cure his HIV-AIDS. He thinks during sexual intercourse, his HIV-AIDS virus will flow together with his s*men inside the v*gina of an innocent girl child and he will be cured of the disease. Imagine! Inconceivable! Unimaginable by good senses but it happens in our communities with "high Christian, moral values of UBUNTU/HUNHU".

It is sad too that women's organisations in Zimbabwe have not responded, taken a firm position about it and how such customs and traditions should be banned from our societies. Can we please hear their position; this issue of virginity testing needs their attention? Instead of suing the President for gender inequalities in parliament, this case of virginity testing is more serious than privileged outcries. To sue President Mnangagwa for ignoring gender parity is more a public relations than solving high level problems bedevilling women and girl children in Zimbabwe.

This is indeed a judgement: Women's organisations in Zimbabwe are barely present when it comes to most pertinent issues about women. They selectively deal in issues that will not put them at odds with the government: that is not activism. President Mnangagwa must have been amused, delighted, giggled unendingly that he was sued by women's organisations for gender parity in his government. Again, I doubt if that is the cause of women's organisations chasing publicity more than working on issues about young women and girl-children some of them are in the streets as we speak, eking out a living: To sue the president is giving a false image that in Zimbabwe there is law and order: look, the president Mnangagwa is sued by women's organisations. In retrospect we are living in an autocratic regime: worse than Ian Douglas Smith; worse than Robert Mugabe.

I will wait and see if you are going to work on this most pertinent issue, Honourable Ms Mishihairabwi-Mushonga. I will follow this issue diligently. The parliament should debate on this and find a national solution to it. 
Source - Nomazulu Thata
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