Sexual abuse of women grows in Cabo Delgado


Authorities in Cabo Delgado are concerned about the wave of sexual abuse of women and girls, victims of NGO employees and community leaders appointed to assist the needy population.

The terrorist attacks that plague northern Mozambique, especially the province of Cabo Delgado, have exacerbated the phenomenon of violence against women. Even after escaping the attackers, some women and girls have been abused in the host regions. “There are many cases,” said Gilroy Fazenda, a spokesman for the Cabo Delgado Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, which explains that women and girls are subjected to abuse and abuse in exchange for the humanitarian assistance they need to survive. The Attorney General’s Office has so far counted 25 cases of violence and abuse. The defendants are mostly employees of civil society organizations tasked with providing support, Fazenda said. But “there are also cases of leaders elected by the population, which are links between communities and NGOs or civil society organizations. These leaders often demand sex in return for food or other benefits,” Fazenda explained. The cases occur mainly in the districts of Namuno and Chiure.

Cabo Delgado’s provincial chief prosecutor, Octavio Zilo, describes the impact of the consequences of abuse, especially of minors forced into sexual connections: “Premature unions have devastating effects on girls’ lives, from exposing them to violence to health risks, as they are usually followed by unwanted pregnancies even when a girl is not physically prepared,” explains Zilo.

In the city of Pemba, prosecutors, bailiffs and assistant bailiffs took part in a training action to try to find ways to prevent violence and punish offenders. “Gender-based violence is a phenomenon widely discussed today, so this training has the advantage of bringing a holistic approach to a common evil for effective enforcement of legislation and reverence for human rights,” Zilo said. Among the subjects addressed during the five days of training are the prevention of gender-based sexual violence, prevention of premature unions and national and international legislation to defend the rights of the child. The training of prosecutors and other actors in the justice sector is the joint initiative of the European Union and the United Nations, which aims to end all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.

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