Source: Tanzania Daily News
Do women believe that men are justified when they beat them for whatever mistake they made? In a reaction to this question, the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) which compiles data from around the world suggests that there is a percentage of women in Tanzania who take positively this punishment from their husbands.

The DHS data which can be accessed on made a survey on issues like when the wife burns the food in the kitchen , argues with the husband, neglects the children, or refuses to have sex with him or if she attempts to question him for going out without telling her.

Interestingly, the survey shows that around 40 per cent of women see a justification for being beaten, especially for neglecting children.

Only 26 per cent of men agree the women deserves punishment In view of the DHS data, I approached a couple of married women to get their opinions. Two of the women were employed as teachers at a school in Ilala District, Dar es Salaam Region.

Three of them were housewives and one was a single mother. The teachers admitted to have quarrelled with their husbands and at times, this got a little far to being beaten. However, none would accept it as a fair treatment to a woman.

"We do lots of mistakes in the house because we are the ones in-charge of the chores. It's not only about burnt food, refusing to have sex or coming late. If a child accidentally picks his father's phone and damages it, he sulks and wants to punish you.

But for obvious reasons, he hesitates and withdraws his intention because he finds you busy in the kitchen ," says *Clementina William. Clementina boldly says time for men to sit down in the house and expect to be served by their wives is gone because both men and women struggle to earn a living for the family . "Wife beating is an outdated and barbaric practice," she warns.

As for *Pili Ramadhani, another teacher, wife beating proves that the husband is no longer in love with his wife. She insists that when the two first met, there was something they shared in common. When that common thing slips away, the husband takes refuge in looking for mistakes in order to punish the woman. " I agree that we do differ with my husband in our opinions sometimes.

When I'm just not in the mood and he would insist that he must be obeyed, a quarrel ensues. But is there any justification? Don't women have rights to say yes or no?" asks Pili and urges women to seek help from social workers and activists on how to approach family matters wisely in order to save their marriages. The housewives however, had different opinions from the teachers.

While they do not support being beaten by their husbands, they believe that strict adherence to daily routines and being submissive help protect their marriages. "I'm in the house most of the time when my husband goes out for work.

He often shouts at me but I was taught by the elders not to answer him whenever he is angry," says *Sophia Abdi, who also admits that her husband once in a while beats her for very insignificant issues like a misplaced shirt or newspaper or even a lost 5,000/- "There is no justification for him to beat me though.

Shall I beat him too, when he makes silly mistakes in the house?"Asks Sophia. The women believe that being unemployed and having to stay home and wait for the husband to buy everything for the family contribute to their low status and the harsh treatment they receive from their husbands.

"We envy our fellows who are educated and have jobs. Probably, if we could start our own income generating activity, life would be different," says *Rahma Jaffery, who says she had been unfairly scolded in front of her children when her husband came home one evening and discovered that she had cooked beef instead of fish.

"I went into the bedroom and sobbed silently. It is really very disappointing when you try your best to please someone and all he does is throw tantrums at you while the children are watching. Where is self respect?" asked Rahma. Another housewife *Judith George said married women go through thin and thick to sustain their marriages. "

You feel like fleeing your home but then there are the children," she says. As for single mother *Christine Mweri, says cases of wife-beating are not often reported as women find themselves in a dilemma.

"Much as you don't like being punched like a volley ball, you also don't want your household to be a laughing stock, in case your neighbours discovered that you had been quarreling with your husband," she says and adds: "When you see so many single mothers around, you must also ask where are the children's fathers? Women bear the brunt of bringing up the children.

They should never be beaten up, even when a mistake occurs," says Christine. In Mara Region however, the justification for women beating is believed to exist among the Kuria. The sad thing is that the women believe that a man must beat his wife as an expression of love.

To what extent the beating is allowed, this isn't made clear. What if she suffers serious injuries? What really prompts the husband to express this type of love? Is it perhaps a ploy by men to continue beating their wives with impunity?

In support of women and children suffering from domestic abuse, the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) has teamed up to with Tanzania Women Lawyers Association ( TAWLA), Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), Zanzibar Female Lawyers( ZAFELA), CRC in an initiative dubbed Gender Equality & Women Empowerment Programme( GEWE II).

The aim is to empower women in respect to gender balance and highlight the rights of children. The progamme covers Dar es Salaam, Coast, Lindi, Mtwara and Morogoro regions.

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