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by Fiona Ruzha, H-Metro Reporter

POVERY is leaving the girl child vulnerable to abuse destroying their confidence, an official has said.Member of the National Assembly for Norton Temba Mliswa made the statement during the launch of “My Gender Equal Kit” prepared by SAfAIDS.

Mliswa said the abuse by young girls is destroying their confidence leaving them with no hope.Economic challenges that we are facing are making our girls prone to abuse by older men and sometimes their parents hence putting them at risk of HIV transmission.Whenever there was a drought, it was common to hear stories of young girls being married off to older men so that the family could get maize or millet in order to survive.

“Given the situation we are currently experiencing, I will not be shocked to hear that the practice is still happening and such behavior destroys the hopes and dreams of young girls and women,” said Mliswa.

Also speaking during the same event, Minister of Provincial Affairs for Mashonaland West Mary Mliswa Chikoka said young girls especially those in the rural areas are vulnerable to abuse and early marriages.You will find that a lot of abuse is happening in the rural districts because a lot of the young girls do not have the confidence and sometimes they are abused just for $10 that they would have been given by an older man and they will do whatever they are asked to do.

“Hence, we need to create systems that will give them confidence especially in rural areas where it is critically needed,” she added.The kit is a response to HIV and GBV prevention, teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions and promotion of gender equality practices.