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Sexual Grooming

Child online safety series

Topic – sexual grooming
Sexual grooming of children is the description of how people who want to sexually harm children get close to them and their families with the intent of eventually abusing them. This can be done in the physical space and even online.

In Zimbabwe we are a very cultural people and we have unknowingly allowed abusers close to our children in the name of culture. How many young girls remember and uncle who always used to like touching them and passing off comments like “ende urikukura heyi”. Even up to teenagehood when the body has developed there have been relatives who have used the cultural card to sexually abuse children. Common phrases like muzukuru mukadzi have and are being used as grooming tools by abusers.
Shifting from physical to online, most children communicate with our relatives on gadgets. Sexual predators are using available platforms to sexually groom children. Remember an abuser in most instances is someone very close to the child, a relative.

Brothers in law and uncles are using culture to sexually abuse children through:

Inappropriate messages on whatsapp
(handiti munoziva mainini kuti muri mukadzi wangu, muzukuru mukadzi)
Sharing of inappropriate sexual suggestive messages under the guise of sharing jokes.
(ndati mungasarire ka mainini/muzukuru honaiwo kkkkkkkkk-nude picture)

What to do
Block abusive relatives, anyone who sends what you regard as inappropriate is inappropriate
Parents should take heed of how relatives communicate with their children. Set boundaries on what is and is not appropriate.
Sometimes children cannot speak to parents, please call free phone 116 and we will help you. The best culture is the culture that protects our children.

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