The number of cases where people are contravening section 37 (1) of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act of 2018 known as SODV have been showing an increase in the Kingdom of Eswatini.
This is a form of crime that involves sexual contact with someone who is under an age specified by law commonly referred to as the age of consent. In a country that is at the forefront preaching the gospel of Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence , perpetrators are increasingly violating this Act which was established in the year 2018. This goes on to shows that regardless of the Laws in place to curb this crime, the country breeds ignorant people that continuously prey on young people.
This form of crime has increased in ways that are horrifying , every day you come across scenarios where a minor has been raped aware or without being well aware. The nature of this form of crime is that the perpetrators of the crime will declare love and lure young kids that cannot draw a line or rather recognise what love looks like. They tend to groom minors by forcing or enticing a child or a young person to take part in sexual activities , not necessarily involving a high level of violence , whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. Worth noting is the fact that this crime is not solely perpetrated by males only but women as well.
This follows the case of Mlamuli Sibeko, who appeared in Court for failing to comply with section37 (1) of Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act of 2018 popularly known as the SODV. Sibeko who is a 34-year-old man maintained a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old young girl. It is alleged that his arrest followed occasions where the 16 year old young girl would disappear from home and that is when the parents of the complainant took upon themselves to open a case. This is a clear demonstration that anyone that violets the SODV 2018 Act faces criminal charges because raping a minor is condemned because having an intimate relationship with someone below the ages of consent is considered rape. During the hearing , Sibeko is said to have elected to represent himself or rather to conduct his own defence in the matter because of how lightly he took the matter.
It has become a norm that when perpetrators commit such crimes, they apply for bail which plainly shows that we are far from curbing such crimes as a country. We live in a society where elders may without shame date or rather maintain relationships with minors because that is what their preference is. When such things are slowly becoming a norm ,it leaves the country with nothing but inspiration for sexual perpetrators that prey on young children to follow on the footsteps of the people that have already set an example that violating the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act of 2018 is something they can get away with.
According to the Eswatini’s Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act, it states that there are two elements of sexual offences which is the intention of the perpetrator to commit the crime and the absence of consent from the complainant. The Act clearly states that there is no consent when there is abuse of power that prevents the victim from expressing herself or himself. When a minor who is between 12-18 is sexually violated by another person , the perpetrator of the crime is likely to be put behind bars for 20 years. Perpetrators that sexually groom a child or promote the sexual grooming of children are likely to be sentenced to 25 years in jail.
The Children ‘s Protection and Welfare Act says that a child is in need of care and protection if the child is at risk of physical , psychological , emotional or sexual abuse by a parent ,guardian or family to that extent. A child is also in need of care and protection if there are any risk of that the child will be abused by a person.
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