Every night I lay in my bed with a heavy heart overwhelmed with despondency. It was as if a dark cloud had descended, overshadowing me with a darkness that threatened to put out the already dwindling light of happiness left in me. My eyes moisten with tears that refused to fall.
At that moment my mind was churning with thoughts of a helpless need to reach out to a distant cry for help. I shut my eyes to block the encroaching darkness even though I only felt it. It was not a broken heart that brought so much sorrow in the still night, but the realities of life surrounding me. I yearned to bring hope to my fellow young sisters who prowled the streets in the covers of night hunting for gold mines to excavate.
With the advent of civilization came change. Some times change is relevant and good, but in other cases it is just trouble waiting to happen. Over the years our culture, dogmas and morals have been a victim to fashion. ‘How cool is that?’
Well, it’s not so cool when you live in my neighborhood; where Cultural erosion and social degradation are idling below zero on the morality scale. As a joke fate decides to play a nasty trick by adding economic hardships to an already troubled nation as the capper.
Already the recipe for disaster had been created, with poverty as its offspring.
I let out a sigh, not of relief but of discontent. Aware of the fact that as a young girl, there was very little I could do about the economy, but a lot I could do for girls in a hopeless situation. At that instance the gate screeched open and I scrambled out of bed and peered through my window which overlooked the gate.
Patience aged 14; my neighbor was closing the gate behind a tall, hefty man holding a beer. From the looks of things they were both drunk. He grabbed her arm roughly and pulled her to him. She stumbled into him, but did not pull away; instead she giggled and led him to her door. For a moment I watched as she fumbled for the keys in the small purse slung over her shoulder. It took a few seconds before she could get the door open. I watched as she closed the door behind her after letting the man in. I instantly looked away for I knew that the old age ritual was about to take place. Gold was in the air.
At that very instance it was difficult for me not to feel anything. Different emotions clouded my heart and I could not help but loathe every man that had ever touched her. Images were engraved on my mind of the things that she had to do to earn a living. In Gods eyes, our bodies were his temples; such innocence should not be taken away at such a tender age. Even thought my heart felt that way, my mind knew better.
It is said that poverty pushes them to prostitution ,the need to survive. Choice plays no role in their lives for they lack parental guidance, the voice of reason. Some of these children do not live with their parents and others are orphans left to fend for themselves in this cruel world.
It is girls like Patience that have been robbed of their innocence and an opportunity to lead a normal life. In her, all hope is lost for she only sees a bleak future ahead. She condemns herself to a life of prostitution to survive, so that her siblings could have a future.
Unemployment is skyrocketing In Zimbabwe, many are living below the poverty datum line and cannot afford to pay for food, medical care or school fees. Young girls as young as 12 years old are selling their bodies for a small packet of biscuits to survive. Not only did this give false hope to the young girls it also signed their death certificates. AIDS is real and it does not care what age you are, or why you are in that situation for it does not feel pity nor does it award any special treatment.
If you are fortunate to be one of the lucky ones, you might be lucky to get away with just a teenage pregnancy. Most of the teenage pregnancies end up in abortion because they lack the financial capacity and maturity to care for a child. In 2009 female feticide was very common in Zimbabwe and 85% of girls who aborted a pregnancy did not live to see their 18th birthday.
It is disheartening to stand by and watch young girls destroy their lives. And as women, we cannot stand by and watch a significant portion of our race (the women race) squashed.We are an important people, after all 'The hands that rock the cradle, rule the world' and we cannot let those hands die.As a nation very little is being done but as women we should try to empower the children with the knowledge that there are several other alternatives that can be pursued for one to earn a living.
Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) here have intervened to contain a crisis in which teenagers are getting involved in prostitution. But containing a crisis is not just about controlling the situation through the
provision of day hospitals and preliminary treatment of HIV/AIDS, and dissemination of HIV/AIDS
messages trying to remind them that this practice is not a way to survive, but that alone isn't enough.
Each and every one of us was created for a purpose and like a drama we all have a part to play to make this world a better place. Let’s join forces in the struggle against poverty, join the cause and see an end to child prostitution.
If not for the girl child, do it for yourself, but if not for yourself do it for women kind!