Malawi has a traditional practice which is shocking the world and is horrifyingly inhumane. The world of ‘Hyenas’ which exists there means that men are hired to sexually initiate or cleanse young girls, as young as 12, before they are able to pass over into adolescence.

This acts as their final stage before the cross-over, but not only is it disgustingly uncomfortable and horrible for these poor girls, technically this is a form of ‘rape’. These girls have no choice and are forced into this practice.

On the BBC, a story is shared about a common Hyena in Malawi and his name is Eric. He is HIV Positive and as he doesn’t wear a condom during sexual intercourse, these innocent girls are doomed to this eternal disease once they have slept with him. This ritual is dangerous and is killing people – we have to speak up and help to make this stop!

The customs in the country are currently demanding that this practice takes place. However, officials have pointed out that the government there is trying to rid this custom but it is a slow, daunting process.

Families in the country hire Eric to cleanse their girls, but he says that the girls aren’t scared and treat him like a married man.

“They compliment me on the wonderful night that we had together, just like married people do.”

He began in 1985 and so far, he has slept with 104 girls. Most of these girls are likely to be too timid to speak up about the experience, but within their quiet minds, they are crying for help. The mothers and fathers are allowing this to happen, they have the power to prevent this from happening but they are choosing for it to take place.

Education is needed and desperately. These innocent girls who are suffering in silence are enduring this deadly practice, and are properly left scarred from it – mentally and physically – for life.

This is so disappointing. Africans in particular need to stick together and stand up for these girls and their rights. HIV is killing people – how can this be acceptable?!

A fundamental change in the society comes through education, laws and strong leadership that upholds human rights and the dignity of their citizens.

Change could never be needed more than it is NOW.


Written by Gemma Smith