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Friday, February 15, 2002
CHILD RAPE - A Cry From Africa
Shocking New Statistics Reveal Dramatic Rise In Child Rape In Sub-Saharan Africa
By Eric Wayman
Special Correspondent to Assist News Service
Costa Mesa, CA (ANS) -- An appalling epidemic of child rape
is emerging in sub-Saharan Africa. This region, roughly the lower one-third of
the African continent, is all ready being decimated by AIDS. Now recent crime
statistics reveal a growing epidemic of rape involving young children.
to a recent report by the South Africa Police Service, children (under the age
of 18) are the victims of 41 percent of all reported rapes and attempted rapes.
Even more disturbing is the fact that over 15 percent of the total reported
rapes are against children under 11 years of age. In the year 2000, an average
of 58 children were raped every single day. (Pictured:
Seven-year-old girl from Gwayi River, Zimbabwe faces difficult future).
The South African Press Association reported one incident in which a
nine-month-old baby girl was gang raped and required a full hysterectomy plus
further surgery in order to repair intestinal damage. Six men, between the ages
of 22 and 66, were charged with rape and indecent assault against the infant.
She is just one of 21,538 rapes and attempted rapes against children reported in
2000. This marks a dramatic 300% rise in reported cases from 1994 (7,559 cases
reported). However, despite this staggering increase in reported child rape,
authorities believe that a large percentage of incidents still go unreported.
The AIDS epidemic has left an unprecedented number of children parentless and
vulnerable to abuse. Henry Nel, executive director of the ROCK of Africa Mission
in Zimbabwe, states, "We are seeing a tragic devaluation in the lives of
little children. The life of a precious little girl is becoming mere medicine
for a dying man."
Today, in Zimbabwe, nearly one-third of all adults are infected. The average
woman has a lifespan of just 36 down from 65 just ten years ago. In five years
experts say the life expectancy could drop as low as 27. Yet despite the rampant
spread of the virus and its tragic impact on sub-Saharan Africans of all ages,
many are denying the disease's very existence.
"There is a deadly element of mistrust of western culture," Nel
explains. "An acronym for AIDS, American Information to Destroy our
Sexuality, demonstrates this. We must train and equip local people to deliver
the real truth about AIDS."
Among the most important things Christian relief organizations bring to
suffering sub-Saharan Africans is truth and hope. Herschel Gulley, president of
The Gulley Foundation of Peru Indiana, asserts, "Missions, churches and
Bible schools have become vital emergency clinics of hope in this desperate
Megill, president of ROCK of Africa Mission, asks, "Can condoms bring hope
to a dying man? No. If we cannot bring hope, we cannot really help. Any solution
absent Jesus, His plan for our lives, His comfort for our pain is totally
inadequate. Jesus is the real medicine for this weary land. The United Nations
is obviously not equipped for this task. Instead, the church must respond."
(Pictured: Glen Megill, ROCK of Africa Mission President
with Mission Pastor Bizeki Chirongo).
Will the church hear this cry from Africa?
Note: The ROCK of Africa Mission www.ROCKofAfrica.org
operates from a base at Gwayi River, Zimbabwe, near the geographic center of the
crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. The mission also has offices in Tyger Valley,
South Africa and Costa Mesa, California. See the multimedia presentation at: www.ROCKofAfrica.org/aCryfromAfrica
for additional information about the crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Gulley Foundation www.GulleyFoundation.org
is headquartered in Peru, Indiana, and provides food, medical equipment, and
relief supplies to the region.