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The sex initiation camps of Malawi where ten-year-old girls are sent by their families to lose their virginities



Feb 7, 2018

Girls as young as ten are being sent to initiation camps in Malawi to be taught about how to have sex and in some cases lose their virginity.

The girls are told by their families they are attending a camp with their friends, but when they arrive they are shown how to have sex and told they must lose their ‘child dust’ as soon as they can or they will get a skin disease.

The horrifying practice is not new – it is a time-honored ritual passed through generations and the girls are sent by their families to make sure they are accepted into their communities as adults.

Girls as young as ten are being sent to initiation camps in Malawi to be taught about how to have sex and in some cases lose their virginity.

One girl named Grace who was sent to the camp aged 10

‘You should be dancing and have a man on top of you, making him happy,’ Grace was told

When she was aged 10 Grace was sent to an initiation camp which took place not far from her home in Golden Village, where Grace lives with her grandmother.

During her week-long stay she said she was taught her about respecting her elders and doing household chores, but also how to have sex by the women that led the camp who are known as he women, known as anamkungwi, or ‘key leaders’.

Children play at Lipunga village in Mchinji district. Harriet Chanza of the World Health Organization said that in many agrarian communities, ‘There’s nothing like adolescence. You are either a child or an adult’

Joyce Mkandawire, the communications advisor for the Girls Empowerment Network said many girls are often not given the choice and sometimes adult men (known as hyenas) are hired by the girl’s own parents.

‘A hyena moves at night. Likewise, this hyena man comes at night into the girl’s bedroom,” Mkandawire said,

‘The girl doesn’t even know who the ‘hyena’ is coming to have sex with her.’

Malawi, like most countries is Southern Africa is facing an AIDS crisis that has orphaned at least half a million children so far.

During the initiation ceremonies, many girls have to unprotected sex with a man to prepare them for womanhood.

 

 

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