Police here are concerned over the upsurge in cases of rape being perpetrated against the girl child, especially in rural areas.
Acting police spokesperson for Midlands Province Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende said the province has recorded a surge in the number of minor girls raped across all the rural districts such as Gweru Rural, Mvuma, Zvishavane and Shurugwi.
"Recently the province has been receiving a number of cases perpetrated on the girl child by people known to the victims. Of particular concern are the cases being reported at Gweru rural police station which covers Lower Gweru, Mvuma, Chiundura and Shurugwi, there were 56 cases of juvenile rape in March only, against 34 recorded last year. The increase in the figures is worrying. In the first three months of the year we have so far recorded 105 cases of juvenile rape against 102 recorded last year," she said.
"As the police we feel some of the rape cases could be prevented if we work together with the parents or guardians of these children. We urge parents and guardians to make efforts to accompany their children to school. They should also refrain children from herding cattle especially the girl child."
Asst Insp Mukwende said the prevailing vegetation in most rural areas this season is giving camouflage for potential abusers.
She urged parents and guardians to educate and discuss sexuality so that they can quickly detect any suspected cases of abuse.
"We urge parents to educate and discuss sexual matters with their children and to monitor them closely so that they can quickly detect cases of abuse. We are equally worried that some cases are reported very late probably after the discovery that the minor is pregnant or has contracted sexually transmitted infections.
"We have observed that social media at times is influencing children negatively and exposing them to cyber bullying and abuse.
"Parents must monitor how their children interact on social media to prevent them from being exposed to pornography and sexual predators," she said.