Source: The Herald Online
The Adult Rape Clinic in Harare says 16 percent of victims in rape cases it has handled this year tested HIV-positive.  ARC said the statistics were of cases that were handled by Harare courts, but only accounted for those aged 16 years and above.

Victims and perpetrators undergo HIV tests whenever rape is reported.

The figure could be higher if children are included.

During the year, an HIV negative boy raped several girls below the age of 10 and one of the victims tested positive.

In the report, concern was raised that the courts had difficulties in dealing with juvenile offenders as some of them were too young to be prosecuted.

Such cases are on the increase and affecting efforts to arrest the spread of HIV.

Since there is no law that condemns juveniles to prison, the courts can only send underage perpetrators for counselling with the hope that they will be rehabilitated.

In a related survey by a local NGO, it has been revealed that most girls and women who have been sexually abused do not know that consequences of rape such as HIV infection and pregnancy can be prevented, treated or limited.

The Medecins Sans Frontieres Belgium-Zimbabwe Mission, in conjunction with the University of Zimbabwe, Centre for Applied Social Sciences undertook the study to obtain an overview of the perceptions of sexual and gender-based violence in Mbare, an area they intend to operate in.

The results may be an indication of the general situation in the country. According to the study, 71 percent of the Mbare population interviewed is aware of the possible rape consequences.

But only 11 percent know the importance of the 72-hour time limit within which medical help should be sought for the most effective help.

The report further says only 11 percent of respondents know of a clinic offering services to adult rape survivors and 21 percent of respondents are aware of the clinic specialising in the support and treatment of raped children.

"This lack of awareness extends to them having very little knowledge of the Victim Friendly Unit and the Victim Friendly Centre," reads part of the report.

The baseline report noted that the majority of violent sex-related acts were perpetrated by men against women, children or other men.

Commenting on the report, VFU national co-ordinator Mr Idene Magonga commended MSF and UZ for identifying gaps that exist in a community they intend to work in.

He however, challenged them to use legal channels with survivors of rape.

"We should be case monitors where we do not only identify cases, but also be able to follow them up with the courts until justice has been delivered," Mr Magonga said. 

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