By EMELDA MWITWA
…Traditional healers themselves are not answerable to anyone
IN REACTING to an article in which I criticised men who have developed a tendency of sexually molesting their daughters, a reader persuaded me to consider the impact of sexual stimulating drugs on sexual violence.
My comments were prompted by two incidences of defilement – one where a sick girl was being molested by her father while he was nursing her in the University Teaching Hospital and another involving a 13-year-old of Chipata who has been impregnated by her father.
A reader, who identified himself as Gresson Phiri said the sexual rot needs to be addressed from the root cause. As far as he was concerned, the unfettered free trade of aphrodisiacs and aggressive marketing thereof in the media, is responsible for the high prevalence of sexual violence against women and children.
Mr Phiri expressed detest against the unregulated adverts of sexual enhancing treatments, especially by traditional healers, in the print media.
He argues that it is from this enhanced or abnormal libido that people are venting out excess energy on innocent people. Mr Phiri requested me to discuss the issue and probably get the views of other readers.
Coincidentally, Mr Phiriâ€™s sentiments came at a time when two civil servants in Mwansabombwe were admitted to Kazembe Rural Health Centre after they drank aphrodisiacs that were administered by a 27-year-old man of Chipota village. The incident happened about a fortnight ago.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police Malcolm Mulenga, then speaking as Luapula Province Commissioner of Police, named the two men as Sebastian Chilufya, 34 and Jones Mate, 35.
The two, who are government messengers, took roots to boost their sexual activity and thereafter started complaining of stomach pains and vomiting.
Surprisingly, the two drank the concoction at about 11:00 hours while on duty at the district commissionerâ€™s office.
Around the same period, a 23-year-old man of Rupiah village in Chisamba raped and murdered his 105-year-old grandmother after taking an aphrodisiac.
One Lackson Simumba, presumptively acting under the influence of the sexual enhancing concoction, forced himself on the old woman who he later killed.
Apparently, he took the poor old womanâ€™s life to cover the ungodly act, but he still left a trail for vigilant community members who reported him to police.
This is an isolated example of the many incidences where men resort to sexual violence after abuse of aphrodisiacs.
I have heard people say that men who abuse aphrodisiacs resort not only to sexual violence, but unsafe sex too which increases the risk of disease transmission in the community.
These are people who may not necessarily need to up their sex drive, but just jump on the bandwagon because it has become fashionable for their peers to use sexual enhancing drugs.
I remember UTH urologist Francis Manda once said that aphrodisiacs, whether traditional or conventional were widely abused because some men simply fancy their colleagues who boast of â€˜explosiveâ€™ sexual drive.
Speaking on radio, Dr Manda talked about how some potent men needlessly resort to using aphrodisiacs because â€˜everyoneâ€™ is doing so.
Others, he said simply want to enhance their sexual activity beyond the God-given normal drive. Apparently apart from suffering side effects, abusers of aphrodisiacs vent the excess energy on little girls and women.
Whether itâ€™s true or not, some people claim that men who have been sexually-molesting girls have a tendency of abusing aphrodisiacs.
The claim is that traditional aphrodisiacs are readily available in the communities and traditional healers will sell them to anyone on request.
The sex drugsâ€™ business has also been bolstered by the unregulated trade and advertising of concoctions whose potency and safety cannot be proven.
Traditional healers themselves are not answerable to anyone; whether the herbs work or not, or whether one gets sick or dies after treatment, they go scot-free.
To some extent I agree with Mr Phiri that the abuse of aphrodisiacs aided, by the free-for-all trade must have contributed to the sexual depravity we are witnessing today.
For instance, I doubt if the 23-year-old of Chisamba who raped his grandmother suffered low libido. Probably he was just testing the power of aphrodisiacs.
Similarly, I am not sure if the two men of Mwansabombwe who took sexual enhancing drugs during working hours were in need of such treatment. If I may ask, why take aphrodisiacs at the office andbothof them at the same time for that matter.
It seems some of the people who want to â€˜reactivateâ€™ sexual virility are just young men, sometimes unmarried, who confuse low libido with infertility and other unrelated problems.
Much as what is happening is worrying, I donâ€™t think it will be possible to regulate the activities of traditional healers because they have no code of ethics and do not align with any association.
Nevertheless, I do not agree that the unfettered aphrodisiac trade is entirely responsible for the high prevalence of sexual violence, and child defilement in particular.
There may be a few child defilers or rapists who may have acted under the influence of aphrodisiacs, but I think most of them are driven by selfish desires.
Men have made several attempts to justify sexual violence which they usually blame on womenâ€™s dressing and now aphrodisiacs. The question is, what has dressing got to do with babies and old women who are being violated.
There may be a lot of contributing factors to the sexual depravity we are seeing, but I think the biggest problem stems from the minds of defilers.
Find below more reactions to the article â€˜Defilement puzzle: fathers jump on bandwagon.â€™
Wisdom Kaunda writes;
I am saddened to learn that a girl who was allegely defiled by her father while she was bed-ridden in the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka, has been abandoned and is dependÂ¬ing on nurses and other well-wishers for survival.
We have countless non-govÂ¬ernmental organisations (NGOs) that are championing the agenda of women who are expected to take an interest in such cases. These NGOs receive huge amounts of money from foreign and local donors to help the vulnerable, but are not helping victims of sexual abuse.
Most cases of child sexual abuse remain unreported because of lack of safe homes for the victims who are brave enough to come out and report the cases. We have seen enough workshops and heard enough champagne popping talk from the women movement.
It is time to invest part of your funding in the construction or acquisition of safe homes where victims of abuse can take refuge when they decide to speak out or leave abusive relationships.
Happy New Year.
Indeed it makes sad reading to hear news of such evil being committed by a father to his own child.
While there have been sharp reactions from the general public in condemning this evil act, it is important for civil society to be seen to be proactive in condemning the perpetrator.
It would be encouraging to see the Churchâ€™s voice coming out strong on such issues lest they are misunderstood that they only speak on matters of tithe, offering and pastorsâ€™ basket (gift to the pastor and his/her spouse), etc. Although there is nothing wrong with giving such gifts to the church, the Church must take a leading role in addressing family matters. After all, Church growth depends on strengthened families and strong family values. It seems todayâ€™s Church is more interested in material things than building families.
Thank you and God bless.
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By EMELDA MWITWA