UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra is currently in Zimbabwe to draw attention to the tragic trauma Child victims of sexual violence.
“No woman, and certainly no child, should be subjected to sexual violence, especially from people they trust, such as family members,” said the Indian actress who In Zimbabwe to advocate for increased support for child victims of sexual violence.
According to UNICEF, sexual violence against children is widespread in Zimbabwe and the latest available data show that close to one in 10 girls aged 15 to 17 has been the victim of forced sexual intercourse or forced sex. About two thirds of the victims were first abused by an intimate partner and about one in 10 victims were abused by a stranger.
“When I met these survivors – courageous young women and children – and listened to their experiences, it broke my heart. […] I will never forget their stories, “said UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador recalling her conversation with a 13-year-old girl who was violently raped by her uncle. The most worrying cases are abuses where the child knew and trusted the adult who had mistreated him.
In Zimbabwe , Ms. Chopra recalled that it was not tolerable for children to be affected inappropriately. She also called for greater awareness of the risks of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases following sexual intercourse.
Sexual violence against children is also “almost invisible” and is largely underreported, UNICEF noted, fear of “getting into trouble” as well as shame and stigma explains why children Do not report these abuses. In addition, many victims were too young or too vulnerable to understand what had happened to them.
During her visit, Ms. Chopra visited Childline Zimbabwe, a 24-hour, 24-hour, free, confidential and multilingual counseling service for children under the age of 18 who have been abused, raped or exploited.
“Counselors, all volunteers, tell me that many calls come from children in hysteria because they have been raped or abused,” said the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador after her visit.
“Without Childline, the victims would have nowhere to turn. It is a model that many countries with high rates of violence against children can adopt, as it is a safe place to turn to children and they know that their appeal will be heard, “added Ms. Chopra .