28 November 2018

Tanzania: How GBV Interferes With Development Process

GENDER Based Violence (GBV), is any act or threat of harm inflicted on a person because of their gender. GBV results from gender norms, social and economic inequities that give privilege to men over women.

Therefore women are primarily affected. GBV is a social problem. A certain issue is marked a social problem when there is public outcry and people become actively involved in discussing the problem.

Globally 7 in every 10 women experience violence while 70 percent of girls reported knowing that some teacher demand sex for better grades.

According to Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) of 2010, 50 per cent of every married woman has experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence from husbands.

Also between 7-48 percent of girls and young women aged 10- 24 years report their sexual encounters as coerced. It is widely understood that GBV, be it in the form of isolated acts or systematic patterns of violence, is not caused by a single factor.

GBV is caused by a combination of a number of factors that increase the risk of a man committing violence and the risk of a woman experiencing violence.

Factors that facilitate GBV to women include poverty, low level of education, intra-parental violence during childhood, a history of experiencing (for women) and perpetrating (for men), violence in previous intimate relationship increases the likelihood of violence in the future relationship as well as excessive use of alcohol among others. GBV is a development issue.

GBV consequences on the development process are but not limited to social capital breakdown because in most communities women are accorded with the sustaining social cohesion role in their vicinities.

Some women fail to cope with violence which results into the breakup of this important role. GBV cause stigma and discrimination.

It also bring about psychological impact on children as well as hinders sustainable livelihoods and well being.Poverty reduction interventions must therefore strategically address the underlying gender dynamics in relation to GBV to ensure that the development process is sustainable and GBV does not negate positive economic and social development.

To be effective GBV strategies must be contextual as per social, cultural and economic set up of each country. The Government of Tanzania has a number of areas of progress in addressing violence against women.

The significant one is the presence of the five years 2017/18- 2012/22 National Plan of Action to end Violence against Women and Children in Tanzania with the ultimate goal of eliminating all forms of violence against women and children in Tanzania.

Other GBV progresses include the Police Gender and Children's Desk (PGCD) throughout the country with trained officers in child abuse and gender based violence, the national multi-sectoral committee on prevention and response to violence against women to advise the Minister responsible for women and children affairs on issues of violence against women and children.

There are also four One Stop Centres in Dar es Salaam (Amana Hospital), Shinyanga (Regional Referral Hospital), Mwanza (Sekou Toure Hospital) and Iringa (Regional Referral Hospital) which provide medical treatment, psychosocial guidance and counseling and legal assistance to GBV survivors.

However when interviewing one GBV victim in Segera village in Tanga Region she told me that 'There are still a number of problems apart from government efforts in combating GBV.

These include lack of enough GBV victims' shelters especially in rural areas, some service providers such as police staff still perceive GBV cases as domestic problem to be solved within the home and not at the police stations.

And some women afraid to report to the authorities after have been beaten up by their husbands '. This shows that the existing efforts should be complemented with more efforts in combating GBV. The efforts may include reviewing of legal system with regards to domestic violence which is minimally and vaguely addressed in The Law of Marriage Act of 1971.

The Government should enact the law which will specifically address domestic violence. The government should also build more GBV victim's shelters especially in rural areas.

Particularly the Government should create economic development plans that address GBV. GBV is interpersonal as well as intergenerational and impacts individual, family and community health and development well-being.

GBV vicious circle must come to an end through the establishment of more platforms which will enable GBV survivors, policy makers, activists and the general public to have continuous dialogue.

The dialogue will unify all of us to end GBV vicious circle by enabling everyone to be heard in each ones vicinity and throughout the world as echoed in these years 16 days of Activism against GBV 'Orange the World Hear me Too'.

Rose Mbezi is a Gender and Community Development specialist: Tanzania Fertilizer Regulatory Authority (TFRA): Contact 0712017105; Email Address rosembezi@gmail.com

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