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One Billion Rising: Statutory rape perpetrates teenage pregnancy

Friday, 29th January, 2021

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.

One Billion Rising: Statutory rape perpetrates teenage pregnancy
One Billion Rising