SEXUAL violence and harassment remain Zanzibar's serious problem amid calls for strategic interventional measures to curb the vice.
According to a monthly report by the Office of Chief Government Statistician (OCGS) released here on Friday, there were 96 cases of violence and harassment last month, a slight decrease from 108 cases reported in the previous month.
Children remain the most vulnerable, accounting for over 90 per cent of the victims, Statistician with OCGS's Crime, Civil and Gender Unit Ramia Hassan Pandu, said in her August report.
She said 87 children—69 girls and 18 boys—were abused during the period, with Unguja's Magharibi A and Magharibi B districts topping the list of danger zones for children and women. Magharibi A and Magharibi B recorded 25 and 20 cases, respectively.
Pemba's Mkoani and Micheweni districts were projected as the sanctuaries of children and women, with each district reporting two cases.
Ms Pandu said rape topped the list of widely committed offences, with 46 cases or 47.9 per cent as sodomy abscond and assault trailed with 15, 15 and 14 cases, respectively.
Debating the report, some stakeholders said children and women remain vulnerable and concerted efforts are inevitable to assure safety for every citizen. They said even though the report had indicated a slight drop in the offences, the society should never get complacent.
"The cases have dropped but we should never relax; the fight should continue because the rapist has no mark on the face," said In-charge of Criminal Statistics, Police Headquarters, Zanzibar, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ramadhan Himid Haji.
He warned against fabrication of sexual offence cases by members of the public in retribution. "We have come across cases of revenge; people may be in relation for quite some time but once they fall out, the rape charge is fabricated," he shared his experience.
Resident Magistrate Nayla Abdulbant Oweya doubted the statistics, especially on Pemba Island, if they indeed represent the real situation.
“I think we need to find more; if indeed there is no sexual violence in Pemba then we have to borrow their techniques and apply them elsewhere but it could be people are just not reporting due to lack of awareness or fear of stigma,” she added.