Nyasha* is a 7 year old girl living with HIV from Seke district. In December 2017, she was sexually abused by her neighbour who threatened her not to report the case. Although in great fear, Nyasha had the courage to disclose the abuse to her mother leading to the arrest of the perpetrator.
At first, Nyasha’s mother could not believe her daughter – their neighbour was a respectable man. She however decided to call the Zvandiri Community Adolescent Treatment Supporter (CATS) to talk to her daughter since he always offered Nyasha support especially in times of distress. “I was shocked when Nyasha disclosed that she had been raped by our neighbour. I never thought he would do that to my daughter since he is respected in the neighbourhood. I decided to call the CATS since my daughter feels more comfortable opening up to him,” said Nyasha’s mother. When the CATS talked to Nyasha, she disclosed that the neighbour had raped her several times and had threatened her not to report the case to anyone. The CATS counselled Nyasha’s mother and assisted her to report the case to the police.
“When I talked to Nyasha, I realised that she was traumatised, her mother was hesitant to report her neighbour but after counselling, I also offered to accompany her to the police. The case was reported to the Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) and the perpetrator was arrested on the same day,” explained the CATS. The VFU referred Nyasha to the Department of Child Welfare (DCW) which placed her at Tanaka Children’s home for safety as the case proceeded. Nyasha was also referred to the Family Support Trust (FST) which organised a medical examination the following day, it was confirmed that indeed she had been sexually abused. The CATS continued to visit Nyasha at the Children’s Home offering her adherence counselling and psychosocial support. The perpetrator however died in February 2018 before the case was completed. This led the DCW to remove Nyasha from the place of safety and re united her with her mother – she is now back at school. Nyasha’s mother had this to say, “I am very grateful to the CATS because he supported me and my daughter all the way. My daughter is in a stable condition and is performing well at school.”
Africaid has seven CATS in Seke district who support Children Adolescents and Young People (CAYP) living with HIV through home visits, counselling and identification of social protection issues that affect them for referrals. Each CATS in the district has a case load of 40 children who are on differentiated care.
*not real name