Bukoba — GENDER based violence (GBV) and Violence Against Children (VAC) are among cross-cutting issues which should be addressed collectively, The Kagera Regional Commissioner, Fabian Massawe has said.
He has urged leaders, Faith based organizations (FBO) and other stakeholders to take a holistic approach to end all potential harmful actions which undermine women and children. Bukoba District Commissioner, Zipporah Pangani conveyed the message on his behalf in Bukoba Municipality on Monday last week while opening a one-day orientation workshop for RHMTs, CHMTs and middle level health managers on gender-based violence and violence against children.
"GBV is rooted in gender inequality and gender norms, often serving to reinforce gender inequality at different levels. Women's subordinate social, economic, and legal status often makes it difficult for them to get help once violence occurs," he said. Massawe noted that worldwide, gender-based violence (GBV) is a serious problem that limits the ability of men, women and children to enjoy their basic human rights and fundamental freedom.
Citing data, he said a national survey conducted in 2010 revealed that 45 per cent of women aged between 15 and 49 years had reported GBV, while another seven per cent had reported sexual violence. Data for Kagera Region, on the other hand, revealed that 49.4 per cent of women and girls aged 15 years and older had reported GBV while 29.2 per cent had been sexually assaulted.
The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed in a report conducted in 2005 in ten countries that partnered women's lifetime prevalence of physical violence by an intimate partner was between 13 -61 per cent. The range of sexual violence by an intimate partner was between 6-59 per cent and for both sexual and physical violence between 15-71 per cent. In addition, many women said that their first sexual experience was not consensual, 24 per cent in Peru , 17 per cent in Tanzania , 30 per cent in Bangladesh and 17 per cent in Ethiopia .
Worldwide, up to one in five women and one in 10 men report experiencing sexual abuse as children. Moreover, trafficking of women and girls for forced labour and sex is widespread and often affects the most vulnerable. Forced or child marriages violate the human rights of women and girls, yet they are widely practiced in many countries in Sub Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East . During the post-election violence in Kenya in 2008, 40 per cent of women who were raped contracted HIV.
Gender-based violence (GBV) can cause serious health problems that undermine women's energy, compromise physical and mental health, erode self esteem, and tears too deep to wipe.In addition to causing injuries, GBV increases the risk of other long term health problems such as chronic pain, physical disabilities, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression. GBV also results in a range of health consequences, such as unintended pregnancy, miscarriage, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS.