TODAY, the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ummy Mwalimu launched a campaign against gender based violence, joining the rest of the world in the campaign.
According to Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey and Malaria Indicator Survey (TDHS-MIS 2015/16), 40 per cent of women aged 15-49 had been sexually abused once or more during that period.
In addition, 20 per cent of women aged 15-49 had experienced physical violence during the past 12 months.
Likewise, 9 per cent of women aged 15-49 had been physically abused without their consent. Such violence was more directed towards married women.
The research also shows that half of married women had experienced 39 per cent physical violence, 36 per cent emotional abuse and 14 per cent sexual violence.
Among the cases reported included rape, strokes, insults, homosexuality, child abduction, female genital mutilation (FGM) and abortion among students.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a grave reality in the lives of many women in Tanzania. It results from gender norms and social and economic inequities that give privilege to men over women.
There is a mounting recognition in Tanzania of gender discrimination and gender equity in different facets of life.
This awakening includes a growing acknowledgement of how prevalent gender-based violence is and the ways and extent to which it harms not only women and girls but also men and boys and, furthermore, the country’s developing economy and health and social welfare systems.
Recent institutional reforms in government also point to promising paths toward responding to and preventing GBV.
For example, each ministry has a gender focal point, and the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, and Children has initiated efforts to train the focal points on ways to mainstream gender in their ministry workplans and budgets.
One of the most important ways to ensure that laws protect and serve women is to help women negotiate the legal system.
Legal procedures can be intimidating, especially for rural women who may be illiterate or poorly educated and who, because of gender roles and norms, may not be accustomed to speaking for themselves (or speaking publicly at all).