Girls are being raped in Nsanje with the consent of their parents as part of a cultural initiation practice widely known as the hyena sex cleansing practice.
Published reports have today revealed that the arrest of Eric Aniva, the HIV positive man who was having sex with under aged girls as a hyena, has not deterred others from indulging in the practice.
A report by Sunday Times alleges that the arrest of Aniva has, however, pushed the practice into secrecy where helpless girls as young as 15 are viciously raped in the name of culture. According to the paper, the practice has exposed young girls to sexually transmitted infections.
“We are concerned that many youths are presenting STIs and unintended pregnancies. This is happening because they are being forced to have sex. When they reach certain ages, they are believed to have become of age and old enough to have sex,” Nsanje District Hospital Youth Friendly Coordinator, Alinafe Zaina, told the paper.
The communities widely believe that families whose children refuse to sleep with the hyena for the ritual experience misfortunes including the possibility of death of a family member.
The paper further alleges that the lives of young people who are fighting against the practice are at risk from members of the community.