Why defilements/early marriages aren’t reported
Published On December 23, 2017 » 2420 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Features
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Eavesdropper logoDESPITE the concern shown by the Government and the general public regarding the ever increasing cases of defilements and early marriages, the scourges have continued.
For a long time, the government has been doing all it could to ensure that defilements and early marriages which have been escalating in many parts of the country are reduced, but the case has been the opposite because some cases of that nature are defended by relatives and friends.
Although many defilement and early marriage victims have been willing to have the culprits punished for the offences, family members and relatives have usually been against taking them to courts of law because in most cases, it is close relatives  and friends who commit the offences and they do not want to have them embarrassed or jailed.
Usually, relatives of the culprits and victims of defilements and early marriages seat together and resolve their problems outside the courts.
A few days ago, I was passing through a centre road in Chifubu Township when I heard a man and a woman ahead of me engaged in a bitter quarrel.
The two were also going towards the direction I was heading for. Although I did not see them drinking, the way they hobbled and shouted suggested they must have been drinking some beer.
“Tuleyabonse uko muleya. Ninshi mulentanfishya,’’ (we will go together where you are going. Why are you chasing me?)It was the woman who was saying this.
“Bwelelafye. Nshilefwaya ukunsebanya,’’ (just go back. I don’t want to be embarrassed), responded the man.
As an eavesdropper, I thought there was something for my ears. Instead of hurrying to where a friend had called me, I decided to slow my pace in a bid to hear more from these two people.
Soon, the two, under my tail, reached a drinking place known as Chitongosha bar and entered.
The time was around 17.00 hours and this is the time we arranged to meet with the friend. I got my cell phone and called him to tell him that I would delay a bit because I had something urgent to attend to.
I followed the two into the bar. At the counter, the man produced money and bought himself an Eagle Lager. Someone who apparently knew the man and the woman asked the man why he bought only for himself when they were two and I heard the man reply that he did not come with anyone to the bar.
The other man, looking surprised, asked the man whether the woman he had come with was not his wife and before the man could answer, the woman  produced a K50 note and asked the bar lady to give her a beer.
The bar lady brought an Eagle, but the woman told her that she did not take cheap beer and asked her to give her a Mosi Lager.
As the man walked away from the counter to take a seat, the woman followed him and sat next to him.
It was then that the woman started to complain to the man I later came to know as her husband.
“You have surprised me. Although you are not Emma’s biological father, she is your daughter because you are my husband. How can you be using such a language,’’ said the woman.
The man responded that Emma was not his daughter because he found her with his wife when he was marrying.
The man who earlier asked him why he only bought one beer when they were two chirped in and blamed the man that it was wrong for him to say he had just found his wife with the child.
The woman then started explaining to the man who had joined in their confrontation that although her husband was saying Emma was not her daughter as a stepfather, it was him who was receiving the money which the man who defiled her daughter and subsequently married her was charged.
The woman explained that her daughter was defiled by a man who was a close family friend and the relatives – both from the girl’s and the man’s sides sat together as two families to resolve the problem amicably because they did not want to embarrass and possibly have the man jailed for defilement.
“Our daughter was defiled by someone we know very well. Instead of reporting him to the police, his relatives pleaded with us that we should just discuss and resolve outside the court and we agreed. The man was charged K14,000. The good thing is that the same man has married the girl and is staying with her,’’ said the woman.
On hearing this, her husband joined in and said her wife’s relatives liked money so much that they agreed to let the defiler go scot-free and worse still, to let him marry the under-age.
“But you were there when the case took place. You also agreed that the man should just be charged instead of reporting him to the police,’’ said the woman.
The other man who was listening intently like me, then asked whether the man who was charged for defiling and marrying the under-age had paid the money he was charged.
The woman told him that the man had paid something and he looked promising that he would pay everything.
“Balilipilako K6,000. Bakapwisha. Nokuba abapoka nempiya niababene,’’ (he has paid K6,000. He will finish. In fact it is him who receives the money) the woman said wagging a finger at her husband.
Her husband who seemed annoyed by the rebuff protested and claimed that he was forced into the matter by his wife’s relatives who said he was the right person to get the money because he was the father of the girl.
“On my own, I could’nt have agreed. If it were my biological daughter, I would have reported that man to the police. The man is even very old. Older than me and you. He could even be the age of our parents,’’ said the man.
The woman picked her beer and took a long swig before she said: ’You don’t just appreciate bashi Emma. It is you who gets the money on the due date for the man to pay,’’ the woman lamented.
The man finished his beer and walked to the counter to get himself another Eagle Lager. When he went back to take his seat, he told his wife that this was the reason why he did not want to be with her because he did not want to be embarrassed.
As the quarrelling intensified, the other man started to cool the couple. He advised them to stop quarrelling because this was not the right place for such issues.
The woman complained that each time her husband was drunk he insulted her including her dead mother.
While the wife and husband were yelling at each other, the friend I told I would delay called. The time was now 18.15 hours and I thought I had heard what was there to hear.
True enough, many defilements and early marriages are encouraged by families and friends who fail to report them for fear of embarrassing, tarnishing and possibly, having their relatives jailed.
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