4 December 2012

Zimbabwe: 18 Years for Rape

A Mufakose man who raped and impregnated his niece has been jailed for 18 years. The 42-year-old man who is married to the complainant's aunt (her mother's sister), raped the 17-year-old girl twice on different occasions. He took advantage of the absence of his wife who had travelled to Bulawayo and raped the girl who later fell pregnant. The pregnancy has since been terminated following a court order.

Legally pregnancies arising from rape can only be terminated with the permission of the courts.

Magistrate Ms Esthere Chivasa castigated the man's immoral behaviour before sentencing him to 18 years in prison. Three years were set aside for five years on condition he does not commit a similar offence within that period. Mr Michael Reza called for a stiffer penalty.

"Culturally this man is a father to the complainant, if the intercourse had been by mutual consent, this would have been a case of incest. Rapists must be sent to prison because invariably once they have raped, they will always rape again. However, a heavy custodial sentence will therefore ensure the safety of women in this country," said Mr Reza.

On September 8, the girl was sleeping in the sitting room together with her cousin (the man's daughter) when the man called her into his bedroom around midnight. When she got into his bedroom, the man suddenly grabbed her by the neck while using the other hand to close her mouth to stop her from screaming. He threw her onto the bed before raping her. After the act, the man threatened the girl with death and ordered her not to tell anyone.

The following morning, the girl called her mother who stays in Bulawayo intending to tell her what had happened. She was in church and the girl was told to call after service. The nextday, the man tip-toed to where the complainant was sleeping and grabbed the complainant who then screamed and his daughter woke up. He pretended as if nothing had happened and went back to his room and later came back after the two had fallen asleep. He gagged the girl's and took her to his bedroom where he raped her. The girl later sent her mother a text message telling her about the abuse. The mother reported the case to the police leading to the man's arrest.

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