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In Bulawayo, a man is alleged to have abandoned his wife and three children in the city center on Thursday evening after picking them up from their rural home in Mt. Darwin. The woman, whose name is being withheld to safeguard the identity of her children, spent the night with her kids, aged five, eight, and 13, on a lawn outside a residence in Malindela Suburb, after her husband left them stranded.
During an interview, the distressed woman shared with CITE that they left their rural residence because her daughter had been sexually assaulted by her brother-in-law, and her mother-in-law was causing them problems for reporting the incident.
“My husband had been away from home for three years,” stated the visibly stressed woman. “He left to seek employment in Bulawayo. During his absence, his younger brother sexually assaulted my 13-year-old daughter. I reported the matter to the police, and he was subsequently arrested and is currently in custody.”
The woman explained that after the rape incident, they moved out of her in-laws’ home and began living independently. She expressed her concern about her daughter’s safety, given the circumstances.
“My mother-in-law was not pleased with her son’s arrest. She would frequently approach my daughter on her way home from school and pressure her to retract her statement to the police, claiming that she was not raped,” she recounted.
The woman revealed that her husband eventually returned home and was informed about the rape case. Subsequently, her mother-in-law compelled her husband to bring them to Bulawayo, asserting that they were causing disturbances in the village.
“I was against the idea, but I considered it for the safety of my daughter. I believed that being away from the village would provide her with greater security, as I am worried about her following the rape incident,” she said.
According to her account, upon arriving in Bulawayo at around 9 pm, her husband took their bags of maize and groundnuts and her cellphone. He told them to wait for him while he went to find transportation to take them to his place of residence but never returned.
Desperate and abandoned, the family sought assistance from nearby individuals who eventually brought them to Hillside Police Station. However, the police were unable to assist because they didn’t know the husband’s address. Consequently, the family spent the night outside, where Good Samaritans provided them with bread and beverages in the morning.
The Social Welfare Department later arrived at the scene, picked up the woman and her children, and offered to assist them in finding transportation to return to their home in Mt. Darwin.