Source: The Citizen
Yesterday marked the beginning of the 16-day journey that is aimed at transforming the lives of millions of women in Tanzania and abroad. It's the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
It is another opportunity for Tanzanians from all walks of life to stand up to the impunity that too often leaves the most egregious perpetrators of violence against women unaccountable for their crimes. There is still a lot of work to be done in Tanzania, where the majority of women still believe that wife-battering is an acceptable evil.
In our neighbourhoods, the cries for help from a woman being beaten are disturbing. They cry for help. We hear them. But we do nothing. It is normal. It is 'a necessary evil'.
Let us stop this madness. Bitter words and beatings from men to women in front of their children. All neighbours witness. Only a few come to the rescue of the battered woman. It's a long way to go to transform women's lives. Such type of violence causes physical pain and emotional distress to those who experience it as well as the witness.
Individuals, families, schools, workplaces, communities, society, and the environment. All are harmed by violence.
I am not being selfish. But women are the most affected. The problem is most of us think this is normal. The Mkukuta Status Report of 2006 indicates that 60 per cent of women believe wife beating is acceptable. Which is why we must take these 16 days as a sobering reminder that gender-based violence is a demon that needs to be exorcised once and for all. And this is not just a female responsibility.
It is an important developmental task for all people and cultures to learn the boundaries between anger (emotion) and violence (physical force).
Gender violence cannot be treated as solely a women's issue. It is a profound challenge for every peace loving Tanzanian.
Gender-based violence is not just an affront to human rights and dignity. It adversely impacts the welfare of our communities.
We must all join hands to redress the low status of women and girls around in the country that renders them undervalued and vulnerable.We must support the inclusion of men and boys in addressing and preventing violence and changing gender attitude.
Accountability and commitment by community and government leaders on this issue, as well as highlight and promote effective programmes that are already successfully at work.
Husbands, it is understandable that we all often feel angry. But know that we can still have such negative feelings without turning them into angry actions or violent behaviours. Expressing anger in a non-violent way can be healthy, after all. Let's walk together.
Love and light,