Source: Dar Es Salam
A research carried out by the Tanzania Media Women Association (Tamwa) has shown that gender violence is perpetrated notoriously in most Zanzibar Districts.

The human rights abuses include rape, underage pregnancies and wife bashing. Incredibly, there was 242 rape cases, 288 child pregnancies, 42 child marriages, 96 family abandonments and an astounding 388 wife bashings in the Isles in 2012 and last year.

We, indeed, must point out here that these are punishable offences that must be dealt with. Child marriages and underage pregnancies appear to be mushrooming.

It is irrational and, in fact, a crime to marry off an underage girl to a husband. Apart from missing the noble chance for education, the girl is condemned to untold suffering associated with parenting.

Domestic violence is another condemnable scenario. In most cases it is the wives who fall victim to the rage of their husbands, especially when the men fail to control their emotions.

But it is imperative to mention here that it is also on record that a rather insignificant number of wives batter their men in anger. Children often flee the acrimonious situation in their nuclear families.

Some prefer to scavenge in the streets. Women complain, nearly in each region, in both Zanzibar and the Mainland, that their husbands subject them to untold suffering. Not many husbands, especially in rural Tanzania, know that wife battering is a criminal offence.

Over and above this social misdemeanor, it is these same "battered" women who slog it out in family farms to make ends meet while their men laze around.

In fact, any act of gender-based violence that results in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty should be rated as a punishable, criminal offence.

It should also be well known that coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life is regarded as violence in the legal world.

So, violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men. Women who are often battered by their husbands know this better.

We join Tamwa in condemning the perpetrators of domestic violence with the strongest of terms and call for concerted measures to eliminate the vice. Those who rape should be paraded in courts of law and if convicted, should take the mandatory 30 years in jail.


Photo: UN

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