MBABANE: Colani Hlatjwako, the One Billion Rising Campaign Africa Regional Coordinator, said most cases of teenage pregnancy were a result of statutory rape.
Speaking during an interview with this Swaziland News, Hlatjwako said the COVID 19 pandemic has given room for vultures to prey on school going children since they were idle at home due to the lockdown.
“COVID-19 has worsened the issue of statutory rape since most children are at home and are to exposed abusers. This is clear that this whole pandemic has caused major problems and that includes teenage pregnancy. It also goes on to show that as a country we lack educated people who fail to understand that sleeping with someone young is actually rape even if they had consented.
It is quite ironic to think that rape cases are not reported but the rate of teenage pregnancy is gradually growing particularly now because of the ongoing lockdown. Minors are being raped and in most cases the perpetrators are within their families thus making it difficult for them to report these cases. This goes without saying that teenage pregnancy will not end, instead it will rise because of victims that are silenced and never speak out because of where they come from and the threats they may receive" , said the One Billion Rising Coordinator.
When reached for comments, Sikelela Dlamini , the Secretary General of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) confirmed hat statutory rape victims were of school going age, adding that some of them fell into this trap out of ignorance.
"Government needs to raise awareness on these issues, sometimes statutory rape happens out of ignorance. The children, parents and the perpetrators might not be aware that statutory rape is a crime. Some parents of the victims may know but they allow it to happen in exchange for financial favors", he said.
On or around September last year, the Times of Eswatini reported that 30 teenagers from Nkwene in the Shiselweni region got pregnant during the lockdown which was enforced in March that year. Earlier this week it also reported that 136 school going were treated for Sexual Transmitted Infections ( STI) since schools were closed due to the lockdown.
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