KASUNGU (Malawi NewsNow ) —An increase in allegations of child rape and sexual assault has shocked Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mrs Patricia Kaliati.
Kaliati says civic-education, apart from handing down stiffer penalties to perpetrators; remain key to scaling down the malpractice in the country.
In tobacco growing district of Kasungu, in the central Malawi, reports show” sharp increases” in allegations of sexual assault .
Kasungu now records a minimum of 12 such cases a month from an average of one per month last year.
The cases are said to scale up during the harvesting season as unscrupulous men take advantage of widespread poverty in communities to defile children.
According to Kasungu Police spokesperson Mr Edwin Kaunda, the rise in defilement cases in the district to cultural misconceptions.
“We hear traditional healers are allegedly encouraging their clients to sleep with minors as a ritual, to be redeemed from curses or to accumulate wealth, which is very unfortunate,” says Kaunda.
Kaliati says there are “some positives” from the Kasungu situation, in that “communities are now reporting defilement cases, departing from the culture of silence that used to engulf such incidents.”