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PLASTERING A FRAGMENTED SOCIETY

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The Times of Eswatini broke a heart-wrenching story of a teenage girl who was being raped by men as she sought to get money for food.
It’s a story of a hate crime when we should be celebrating love.


Nobody deserves the treatment she got and men (who I believe should be charged with rape) can certainly do better. This is on the same week that the publication also reported that the police in the Shiselweni Region are currently investigating cases of suspected serial rapists and murderers who allegedly robbed, gang-raped and murdered six women. What a terrible week.


 I have said it before, and will say it again, anyone who does such crimes does not even belong to the human category, he is an animal and deserves to be caged.


There should be community outrage about this act. But sadly, we are silent.


normal


Some are now accepting such as normal. So normal to many that in the case of the child she is even referred to as a sex worker. How is she a sex worker when she is clearly a repeated victim of sexual abuse?
She is also of non-consenting age and innocent in all this.  If an uninformed vulnerable and hungry child offers to sleep with a man in return for money, that man must decline because it is a crime.


That man should instead help the child because he has the money, than to take advantage of her vulnerability. That man should show fatherly love to the girl child. It is, after all, the month of love is it not? 


This is a month when we should love not only our lovers and family, but also residents and everyone around us. In fact, all months should be months of love. After all, love is the glue that sticks everyone together to live in peace, respect and harmony.


responsibilities


This story also brings back to focus the abdicated responsibilities that society has on children and, in particular, the girl child. While the story focuses on the guardians and the action of the child, my particular interest is the men that pay to sleep with this vulnerable girl.
These men are supposed to be fathers and protectors of the girl child yet they are ruining her future by engaging in these illicit acts with her. And sadly, this is not an isolated incident. We see it in many sectors and spheres; where people who should be protecting women and girls instead take advantage of them.


harassing


Gender abuse starts with us men and can stop with us. In the case of the child, one would expect that a responsible citizen would offer the hungry child E100 to buy food without sexually harassing her. It is demeaning and distasteful that they commit these crimes on the girl.
One commends the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for joining in the campaign with United Nations Eswatini called ‘Let’s Talk’.


In this campaign, apparently issues of early and unintended pregnancy are deliberated with pupils and teachers. They are reiterating messages not to leave boys and men out of the conversation as they have a role to play in preventing early and unintended pregnancy.


campaign


I would take the campaign a step further and say ‘Let’s Talk and Let’s Act’. Because after we have discussed our responsibilities, it is essential that we act on them.
We all know that sleeping with a child is a crime. But still we wake up to these sickening headlines.
There can be no excuse to what drives a man to want to sexually abuse a child. It is wrong and should just stop.


The bigger problems facing society, which include the disintegrating quality of life due to the economic challenges faced by the country, have left many young children vulnerable. The time therefore is now that as society we unite and play our role and not exacerbate the problem even further by taking advantage of the vulnerable.


With the recent bus fare hike, many people are now considering to ask for free rides to town or whatever destination.
It is your moral responsibility as a driver not to take advantage of the person in need and then seek sexual favours in return for the ride. Because such things worsen the state of the society. They create bigger cracks.


responsibilities


The victims, well now called survivors of abuse, become hurt individuals and are integrated back into society. And hurt people hurt others. We then read stories of older women raping younger boys and one wonders if this is not part of the pattern started long ago by a randy driver.


We can do better as society. We need to daily walk around with our cement and shovels and play a meaningful role in the plastering of this fragmented society.
We must not add to the already growing cracks. Adding to these cracks produces angry and hurting people, who may in future generations hurt others.
We must plaster the fragmented society by each doing our moral obligations.


And in true thought leadership style, live on Philippians 4 verse 8, “ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

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