Child abuse in Zimbabwe has remained a subject of concern despite the existence of laws that protect children and women.

The real reasons for rape remain debatable but activists pick heartlessness and rituals as the chief contributors to the spike in child rape statistics.

Rape and other forms of abuse are hard to measure, since victims often suffer in silence.

This is particularly so if the victims are men raped by women, or young boys abused by older men.

Within this context, the real statistics on sodomy in Zimbabwe will not be accurately collated.

However, what is visible is the abuse of minor girls and women with statistics showing a worrying trend over the past three years.

No reason can be perfect to justify this inhumane act, yet a number of controlling factors are cited, as noted by the Zimbabwe National Welfare for the Rights of Children Director, Reverend Taylor Nyanhete.

The thought of a 60-year-old man forcing himself on a five month old child defies every reason which society can come up with.

The absence of a mandatory custodial sentence had created a vacuum with gender and child rights groups agreeing that sentences were inadequate.

The pronouncement of a mandatory 60 year sentence for criminals who rape minors and the disabled is thus viewed as critical to cover this gap.

“This law should be speedily implemented to deter would be perpetrators,” a gender activist, Mrs Virginia Muwanigwa said.

“Rape victims rarely recover from this experience and the implications have detrimental consequences on the ability of women and girls to realise their fundamental human rights,”  a psychological expert, Miss Lisa Mauyangwe noted.

The huge leap taken by the government addresses the huge loophole to protect girls and women against perpetrators of rape and violence.

At last, rape victims in Zimbabwe can find solace knowing they will never see their violator during their lifetime.