On a fateful Tuesday evening in 2017, the most of Elluby’s [not her real name] pride was forcefully taken away from her—she was defiled.
Elluby’s psychological trauma has been compound by the fact that she was later dealt with a double-blow of tasting positive to HIV, coupled with struggle with fistula.
As if that is not enough, Elluby cannot get justice on her defilement case after a medical report obtained at Nkhulambe Health Centre in Phalombe soon after the incident subsequently grew wings and flew away from police custody.
Before the fateful day, Elluby, then seven years old, was in Standard 2 at one of the primary schools in the district. She used to be happy, just like any other child of her age, till some evil-minded man saw a woman in her.
Her happiness was taken away by the selfish man who, for purposes of this story, we have called Adolf. He crowned the poor girl with this sadness, which seemingly has come to stay.
Elluby comes from a child-headed family and her elder sister, whom she calls mother, who we shall call Tisungane, is only 15.
It was Tisungane who narrated to us her younger sister’s ordeal.
“I suspect that the man bribed the police, but since I am poor, what else can I do. I have accepted and dropped the case,” said Tisungane while fighting tears.
Despite being arrested soon after committing the crime and stakeholders pushing for the law to take its course, two years on, Elluby’s case has stalled in the court, with some quarters claiming lack of evidence.
But there was evidence that after Elluby was allegedly defiled, she was rushed to Nkhulambe Health Centre in Phalombe where tests confirmed she was defiled and a medical report was issued to that effect.
But to date, only police are better-placed to explain how the report grew wings from their custody.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera asked for more time to find out how Elluby’s medical report went missing in police hands.
While confirming the case, and giving an overall comment on increased cases of such nature, Phalombe First Grade Magistrate Damson Banda said sexual violence is the worst form of gender based violence (GBV) in the district.
“There are a lot of cases of this nature, which have stalled in my court. I wish we could complete them and the victims see justice and those in the wrong, meet their fate,” he said
Chairperson for Nkhulambe area mother group, Chrissy Malikete, said stalling of cases at the courts as well as lenient sentences to offenders, and worse still corruption, are some of the setbacks in the fight.
One of the youth and child rights organisations in the country, Youth Net and Counselling says what is happening in Phalombe demotivates players in the fight against GBV.
Yoneco executive director MacBain Mkandawire warns that one day, police will answer for their negligence on sensitive matters affecting children in the country.
“What is difficult about asking the health facility to provide a duplicate report?” he asked, further urging the powers that be in police to intervene in the matter.