RAPE is the most shared violent crime is many of Zambia’s communities today.

In fact rape has been considered a form of gender-based violence (GBV) which can take place in physical, mental, social or economic against an individual because of that person’s gender.

No one can therefore deny that rape is becoming a common occurrence—an everyday thing because barely a day passes in Zambia without a woman being raped in both rural and urban setting.

It is also true that women in Zambia experience a variety of forms of violence including battery, sexual abuse and exploitation, rape, defilement and incest. 

But this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue in a Christian nation like ours where every citizen has the right to life, freedom of thought, expression and equality.

Prevalent violence against women is one of many realities that aggravate women’s suppression in Zambian society.

Deeply entrenched male-controlled values have led to women in Zambia to remain discriminated against and disadvantaged in many sectors and to their being at a higher risk of many forms of violence.

Take the recently reported case of a first-year Catholic University student who was gang-raped and left for dead by unknown people in Kalulushi district on the Copperbelt. Quite mind-chilling!

And today we have yet another report of rape cases rocking Kabwe’s Mulungushi University in a most inexplicable set up.

The Sun reports that Mulungushi University has been rocked by cases of rape and sexual harassment especially in the dark of night and authorities have heaped the blame on ZESCO for load shedding the institution.

University authorities have blamed the situation on load shedding as the hostels are accessed by unknown people in the dark.

“Load shedding by ZESCO is what is making Mulungushi University to be unsafe for female students,” Dean of Students, Pandey Syachaba has said.

Mr Syachaba said on Friday last week they had received a report of a student who was almost raped by unknown person.

In an interview with the newspaper, Mr Syachaba explained that such incidents were bound to happen because of load shedding that the school was experiencing and that it was a big challenge.     

“It is not as if this is how the university is that we have many rape cases no, we are experiencing some of these things because of load shedding. When it is dark that is when evil doers what to do their evil things.

The incident that happened on Friday the student was in the toilet, she saw a man peeping, and she screamed and her fellow students came to her rescue,” he said.

Mr Syachaba said as an institution they were putting up measures to see how they could address the situation and that it was not easy because they needed to employ more security guards.

He assured parents and guardians that their children were safe.

He further urged the students to ensure that they locked their rooms and hostels.    

Meanwhile, Southern Africa Students and Youth Development Association (SASYDA) president Ibrahim Mwamba said that the university had become unsafe and a hub for criminal elements who were finding it easier to conduct their illicit activities because of porous security situation.

Mr Mwamba said the University should immediately take a decisive action on the growing problem of reported rape cases, sexual and other forms of abuse against female students.

In a statement, Mr Mwamba said so far the Police had opened up a number of dockets of complaints from victims of the barbaric vices and yet none had come forward from management.

This simply confirms how horrid the situation has become and it is entirely up to the Police and other stakeholders such as the Church to up their game to lower rising incidents of rape in Zambia.

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