An investigation into the link between traditional medicine and the rise in cases of defilement: The case of Mazabuka District
Kanenga, Mato Rita
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between the use of traditional medicine and the rise in cases of defilement. The objectives of the study were to: investigate if traditional healers were responsible for advising their patients to defile minors for the cure of any disease; ascertain whether or not defilement cures HIV and AIDS; establish whether or not traditional medicine can cure HIV/AIDS; establish if traditional medicine can make one rich; assess community’s belief in the virgin cure myth; and suggest possible solutions. In this study, preference was for the use of a non-experimental design, case study. The population included 100 traditional healers and 200 members of the community. The study also included a group of people who were interviewed using interview guides, these were, 1 officer in charge of the Victim Support Unit (VSU) at Mazabuka Police station, a Traditional Healers Practitioners Association of Zambia (THPAZ) member and a Mazabuka Municipal Council officer. Hence it was inferred that, traditional healers maybe partly responsible for the escalation in numbers of defilement. The fact that they agreed that there were some traditional healers who gave such advice to their patients, made them vulnerable to the accusations. In the findings, the myth that sex with a virgin cured HIV/AIDS seemed to be emanating from the traditional healers who advise their patients to commit the offence in order that their medicine would be effective. This was evident from the responses from the community members. However, the traditional healers categorically refuted this claim, but instead they said that they were some traditional healers who advised their patients to defile children. The question of motives was quite a complex one and although many accounts badly ascribed it to a long-lived belief that sex with a virgin would cure HIV/AIDS; there was no strong reason to believe that it was even part of the mix of what impelled the majority of offenders. In the view of the findings revealed in the investigation of the use of traditional medicine and the rise in cases of defilement, the following were the recommendations the study arrived at. There is need for the Government through the Ministry of Community Education and Social Services to step up community education on defilement. There is also need for massive contribution from law makers in parliament to foster the amendment of laws that would deter would be offenders.
- Education