By MAYA NTANDA –
MUCH has been said about defilement being a criminal offence, yet the increasing levels of the vice are still alarming.
Barely a day passes without reports of a girl being defiled and the Government has every right to get worried.
Recently, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Stephen Kampyongo told Parliament that over 6,000 girls have been defiled between 2010 and 2013.
In 2012 Gender and Child Development Minister Inonge Wina in her speech in Lusaka during the launch of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence(GBV) said Statistics from the Zambia Police Victim Support Unit indicate that the country had recorded 9, 612 GBV cases,
The country recorded 8,261 in 2008, 8,261 cases in 2009 and the figure increased to 8, 467 cases in 2010 while in 2011, over 11 908 cases where recorded.
Under the theme “Gender Based Violence: Zero Tolerance Now,” Ms Wina called for more voices in the fight against GBV, if the country was to effectively address the vice as cases were on the increase.
And despite the country commemorating the 2013, 16 Days of Activism against GBV which was held under the theme: One Zambia One Nation against GBV through the law, defilement and incest cases are still being reported on.
Year in, year out, the courts of law are also imposing stiffer punishment on perpetrators of defilement which unfortunately does not seem to deter would be offenders from committing similar offences.
Kitwe High Court Judge Judy Mulongoti in her Solwezi and Kitwe sessions ensured that those found guilty of defilement, which is charged under section 138(1) chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, were put away from society for a long period of time.
On November 18, this year, Ms Justice Mulongoti sentenced 39-year-old Ilunga Kapimbi of Mujimanzovu village in Solwezi to life imprisonment for unlawfully having canal knowledge of his 15-year- old biological daughter between January 2010 and May 2012.
The girl was sexually abused after the death of her mother.
Ms Justice Mulongoti was satisfied that Kapimbi had unlawful carnal knowledge of his daughter and that there was over-whelming evidence that he had even impregnated her and later she suffered a miscarriage.
“You physically assaulted your own daughter in your quest to have sex with her, your actions are despicable and an abomination.
“The girl will forever be traumatised and haunted by what you did to her for the rest of her life,” said the Judge.
Kapimbi was charged with incest, convicted by the lower court and the matter was referred to the High Court for sentencing.
The affected girl had testified that after the death of her mother in 2010, the family went to stay with other relatives at another village and it was then that Kapimbi started having sex with her.
She had told the court that initially, she was sleeping with two other children when Kapimbi went to join them on the same bed and had sex with her.
On another occasion Kapimbi spread a chitenge material in the bush, removed an axe, tore the girl’s clothes and forced himself on her.
The girl said on a number of occasions, her father would demand food and would ask her to get ready for sex after consuming his meal.
“My father turned me into his wife and usually told me to give him food and get ready for sex anytime until I became pregnant. I am not happy with what my father was doing to me and I have never had a boyfriend in my life,” cried the girl.
In a similar case, Ms Justice Mulongoti bemoaned the increasing number of defilement cases and stated that such offenders did not deserve leniency.
She said when she sentenced Frank Kalumba of Lamba area in Solwezi to 35 years imprisonment for defiling his 11- year- old step -daughter on September 14 this year.
Ms Justice Mulongoti said it was dis-heartening that such cases were on the increase and that step daughters were not safe at the hands of their step fathers.
And on December 11, the same court sentenced a security guard of Kitwe to 45 years imprisonment for defiling a 14- year- old neighbour.
Samson Mbuzi, 38, defiled the girl who was his neighbour between March 1 and August 13 this year and later impregnated her.
The girl, was sweeping her parents’ bedroom when Mbuzi took advantage of her and forced himself on her.
In commenting on the vice, Trauma Healing centre Executive director Jurita Mutale says the increase of cases indicate that defilement cases were being reported and information about it was spreading out.
Ms Mutale said there has been an involvement from all stakeholders unlike in the past when the community used to shun bringing out such acts for fear of being blamed.
She commended Government for ensuring that culprits are brought to book, prosecuted and put behind bars.
Ms Mutale said there was need to monitor people’s attitudes from time to time to prevent GBV cases which were a violation of human rights
“There is need to monitor people’s attitudes and probably target such perpetrators of GBV especially those committing defilement offences and counsel them because there is no way an adult who is supposed to protect a child can behave in such a manner,” she said.
Ms Mutale said the Trauma Healing Centre was also offering counseling services to victims of GBV to help them heal.
More voices in the fight against GBV cases especially defilement and incest cases are required, the courts of law are doing their part and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that such cases are reduced to protect innocent children from falling prey to perpetrators of the crime.
It is everyone’s dream that 2014 will bring hope and security among the girls and women as well as affected families and ensure that lives of children are protected.