IThemba for Girls Trust has expressed concern over the Government’s seemingly lackadaisical approach in dealing with sexual violence against girls which has resulted in some as young as 12 years old falling pregnant and dropping out of school.
In a statement commemorating The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), IThemba called on communities to move away from patriarchal values that allow for the sexualization of girls at a young age. It said:
Whilst very little to no research has been done to gather statistics on the number of young girls who have fallen pregnant due to sexual violence, we are concerned with how men are taking advantage of young girls from poor communities.
It looks like the government has no strategy of protecting young girls from sexual violence and it continuously remains the responsibility of affected communities to come up with solutions on how to protect their young girls.
Communities need to do away with patriarchal values that allow for the sexualization of girls at a young age and rather create an environment where girls can live and move around freely without men passing sexual remarks about or towards them.
IThemba also called for drastic measures to be taken to end GBV and Sexual Violence on young girls such as imposing stiffer sentences for perpetrators. It added:
Whilst we are advocating for stiffer sentences for perpetrators we also need work towards introducing programs at an early age in schools, churches and other places of convergence for young people.
The goal is to transform their mindsets in a positive way with regards to their perception and subsequent treatment of females.
… We need to socialize [boys] so that they respect and identify themselves as equals to girls, with the hope that they will grow up to be responsible men who shun from any form of violence against women and girls.