20 June 2016
TODAYâ€™S story, headlined â€œHIV infection rate in girls alarmingâ€ shows how vulnerable the girl child is in a society ridden with men spreading the virus.
The need for efforts to reduce the new HIV infections in girls and women cannot be overemphasised.
As National AIDS Council Chairperson Dr Everisto Marowa said there was need to address social ills that make women and girls more vulnerable to HIV infections.
It is worrying to know that 3 000 girls and women in Sub-Sahara are infected with HIV per WEEK.
More than 4 in 10 new infections among women are in young women aged 15-24 while 15-19 year olds are particularly at risk equating to higher HIV prevalence rates when they are older.
This points to the high school and tertiary education generation, females that are economically unstable and at a crucial stage of their lives.
The nature of men after these young girls is economically stable, at least to satisfy their young fancies, and evil enough to not care about their health concerns.
You see them parked at universities waiting to pounce on these girls who are usually new to the lifestyle they are being offered.
These men are more mature and target young girls whose parents are even struggling to pay their tuition.
That is sad, unfortunate and evil.
The boys or young men in the same age groups are safer compared to their female counterparts as no older females are after them sexually.
Social isolation, economic disadvantage, discriminatory cultural norms, gender-based violence and school drop-out all contribute to girlsâ€™ vulnerability.
Having sexual intercourse with these young girls (particularly those under the age of 18) should be a serious offence and too many such cases are appearing in our courts.
So common is sex with minors who should be in school that many adults have accepted it as a norm â€“ as long as the perpetrator is willing to pay lobola to the victimâ€™s parents.
The parents of these young girls are endorsing such child marriages to enjoy the criminalsâ€™ wealth.
The defence is always the same, the men always claim they â€œdo not know that the victim was a minor,â€ yet they know the children well enough to have sex with them.
Such people are becoming too many by the day and if nothing is done to make examples out of them, early marriages, spread of HIV, unwanted pregnancies and general abuse of the girl child will be the order of the day.
People must be educated about the law and must know that they cannot have sexual intercourse with children younger than 18, no matter how old these children may look.
Young people must realise that sex at a young age, consensual or not, is something they will regret seconds after or during the said intercourse.
This idea of feeling like heroes because you are bedding minors should be punished out of menâ€™s minds.