The wave of crime that has terrorised Malawi’s cities has not spared girls as 23 girls between the ages of 3 and 14 were defiled between June 10 and July 11.
Blantyre Police spokesperson Lameck Thembachako said the data was extracted from the Victims Support Unit One Stop Centre at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.
The situation has raised alarm with Save the Children’s Sex Behavioural Change expert Timothy Bonyonga suggesting there could be more cases in other districts if such centres were to be built across the country.
“These statistics include only the cases that have been reported but there are others that have not been reported. In this case there is need to build more centres across the country so that victims are assisted quickly and statistics are collected,” he said.
Bonyonga attributed the problem to parents’ reluctance to give their children sex education from a tender age.
“Parents are supposed to teach their children from age three that when anyone touches them on their sensitive parts they should report because if they don’t that person will continue until he defiles the girl.
“In most cases the defiler doesn’t just wake up one day and defiles the girl. He develops a habit of touching the girl and when he sees she is not re¬porting it or protesting he thinks she is accepting it and then he defiles her.
“So, parents should teach their little ones to report immediately if anyone touches them inappropriately,” he said.
Bonyonga said those who defile young girls suffer from a mental disorder known as motivational deficiency disorder.
“These people have problems with self esteem, they think there is nothing they can do for people to accept them. As a result they have no motivation to go for women of their age like people normally do. The result is that these people resort to unconventional means of satisfying their desires,” he said.
Executive Director for Eye of the Child Maxwell Matewere concurred with Bonyonga on the need for some effort to be put into sex education.
“The communities need to be empowered with knowledge so that they can act quickly where girls are vulnerable to sexual abuse.
“We have must teach the communities to protect the children as they afraid because in most cases those who defile them are powerful people,” he said.
Minister of Gender Children and Social Services Anita Kalinde on Wednesday acknowledged that defilement was a big problem she had encountered since taking over office and said there was need for literacy campaigns to check the problem.
Kalinde particularly took issues with witchdoctors who advise people to sleep with young girls to either cleanse themselves from HIV/Aids or as a way of getting rich.
Thembachako hailed the centre as it has completely reduced the hustles that victims used to go through in the past.
“The centre is a one stop unit containing all that a sexual abuse victim would require when in dire need; police office, social welfare office, Child Justice Court Office, Fountain of Life Organisation (counsellors office), an interviewing room, admission room and all hospital requirements including specialised doctors and nurses.
“Previously the victim had to travel from the scene of the incident to police. The police had to give her hospital a referral letter and advise the victim to come back after receiving medication to open up case file as well as to be counselled for trauma which was costly and tiresome to the victim. But this is now done under one roof at QECH,” he said.
The reported cases occurred in Bangwe, Chileka, Chilobwe, Chimwankhunda, Chirimba, Limbe, Mbayani, Milare, Nancholi, Ndirande and Nkolokoti.