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Girl Child Network Worldwide empowers girls to seek justice

11 years ago | 2015 Views



Girl Child Network Worldwide emerged out of multiple personal experiences, collectively representing a proven track record that is acknowledged around the world and makes it possible to move seamlessly from the African village to the Global village.



Abuse of young girls recognises no borders, cultures, creed or colour. It is all around us, representing massive loss of human potential as well as a gross violation of human rights

“From our lived experiences, we have so many practical ways to support the empowerment of girls in the home, school, and community so that what happened to us will never happen to women and girls again. We want a new breed of girl who will walk in the fullness of her potential,” — Betty Makoni— Director and Founder of Girl Child Network



1. Realise that it is NOT your fault

You are a strong and brave girl to have survived such a difficult experience.


Report the case to police as soon as possible. Ask for the Victim Friendly Unit at your local police station. Once you have reported the case to the police you will be able to ensure that the person who committed a crime against you will be brought to justice.


Get healthcare Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) within 72 hours. A hospital/clinic can give you PEP which is a combination of drugs to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV and AIDS. It is also important to get immediate healthcare services so that evidence can be collected. Many survivors do not at first want to report the crime but then change their minds. It is wise to have a health examination so that evidence can be collected.  This way, if you do change your mind about reporting the crime, at least you have the evidence necessary to take your case to court.



2.  Pressing charges:  Frequently asked Questions

Does it matter if I report the person that assaulted, raped or abused me?

It is against the law to sexually abuse or rape someone, regardless of your relationship with them. A boyfriend can rape a girl friend and a husband can rape his wife. 


3 When can I NOT press charges?

Unfortunately,  if the perpetrator is unknown or if the perpetrator cannot be found or has died it will be impossible to press criminal charges. BUT, it is still very important to report the case to police.

If it is possible for you to press charges, you will likely have to attend court and testify. The following tips will help you prepare.


4 Frequently asked Questions about Bail


When an accused person is granted bail, does that mean my case is weak or less important?


No, bail does not mean accused is innocent. The purpose of the bail is to secure the appearance of the accused in court. However, the court will consider whether there is evidence that the accused is likely to abscond or interfere with witnesses, or commit offences of a similar nature whilst on bail


So, the victim must make sure that she informs the police officer about any information that might render an accused person not a suitable candidate for bail. The police officer has a duty to inform the Prosecutor fully and objectively of the reason why accused should not be admitted to bail.





a.      Make an information pack/ journal where you keep all important documents about your case and keep it in safe place

Girl Child Network must give you police,court, health,counseling and school card to monitor every procedure and service provider.

b.    Tell the police, GCN or your prosecutor right away if someone is making you afraid to go to court by threatening you or if you move, change schools or get a new phone number.

C.   Ask your prosecutor to help you prepare for testifying by making you practice questions and reviewing your statement. If your prosecutor does not have time to do this, tell him/ her you would like them to give the information about your case to a lawyer at GCN or Justice for children. And they will help you prepare free of charge.

d. If you feel nervous about having to be in court with the person accused of committing the crime, ask the prosecutor about the possibility of having you speak through using the victim friendly court.

e. Ask a friend or a family member to come to court with you if it makes you feel more comfortable

f. Prepare before your court appearance by going to bed early the night before and packing a snack or some lunch to take with you.


6.  Court Day


1       Dress comfortably in a neat and tidy manner

2       Bring your information package, including your court card

3       Arrive at least 30 minutes earlier 

7.  Testifying


It is natural to be nervous about a painful personal experience in public, particularly if it involves testifying against someone you love or once trusted. Remember that speaking the truth is the only way to bring about justice and it is an important part of the healing process.


Use the toilet before you have to testify

Be polite and tell the truth

Do not lie about anything


The prosecutor will first ask you questions


Wait until the whole question is asked before answering and answer only the question that is asked


Ask for an explanation if you do not understand the question.

If you do not know the answer, just say so. Do not guess.


Take your time when answering and speak in a strong, clear voice


You might be asked to talk about something that is embarrassing. That’s hard to do. Remember that lawyers and other magistrates in court have heard people talk about embarrassing things before. You need to tell them   what happened even if it’s embarrassing. The most important thing is to tell the truth.


Ask for a glass of water, a tissue or break if you need one.


After the prosecutor finishes asking you questions, the accused or his lawyer will ask you question.


Remember you are not the one on trial


The defence lawyer might ask you questions about things in order to try to make you look or feel responsible for what happened to you. Realize that they are just doing their jobs and do not let it upset or intimidate you. Always remember that you are the victim of crime


Remember that you are doing the right thing for yourself and for your community in speaking out about what has happened to you. Your testimony, even if it does not lead to a conviction, is a very important part of the fight to end sexual violence against girls.


If the perpetrator is found guilty what will happen to them

The punishment given will vary depending on a number of factors including the degree of violence or force involved, age of the person raped or sexually abused, any injuries sustained by the victim, the number of persons who took part in the abuse, the age of the perpetrator, whether the person committing the crime was related to the victim, whether the perpetrator was infected with a sexually transmitted disease at the  time of the rape and whether the perpetrator has a criminal record of similar offences.



Courts Words


Appeal- a request for a higher court to consider changing a decision made by a lower court


Arrest- when a police officer takes someone away to be charged with a crime.


Complainant- a person who reports that he/she has been a victim of crime


Conviction- the official decision by the court that a person is guilty of a crime


Guilty- the finding by judge / magistrate that an accused person committed a crime based  upon the evidence presented in court.

An accused person can admit to having committed the crime by pleading guilty


Plea-  the answer given by an accused when charged with committing a crime. An accused can plead guilty or not guilty


Preliminary- Hearing a hearing in court to decide if there is enough evidence against an accused to have a trial


Sub- peona - a legal document sent to a person that orders them to appear in court as a witness. A subpoena must be obeyed as it is an order of the court.


Trial- a hearing before a judge or magistrate where the Prosecutor presents evidence that the accused person is guilty of a crime while the Defence lawyer presents evidence to suggest that the  accused is not guilty.


If you do not understand something, do not be afraid to ask your Lawyer or GCN accompanying staff, it is our job to help you.


This information is brought to you as a community service by Chief Executive Officer of Girl Child Network Worldwide Betty Makoni via Bulawayo24 iBlog

Girl Child Network Worldwide

Global Center for Girls Empowerment

Essex, UK


Africa chapters

Girl Child Network Zimbabwe

Head Office

131 Duri Road

Unit F

Seke, Chitungwiza

Zengeza Girls Empowerment Centre

Stand No 16352

Zengeza 4



Hwange Mwemba Girls Empowerment Village  (Matabeleland South)


Chitsotso Girls Empowerment Village

Chihota Girls Empowerment Village

Girl Child Network Sierra Leone

Girl Child Network South Africa

Girl Child Network Uganda


North Ameriva

Girl Child Network Canada

Girl Child Network USA



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