TANZANIA joins the rest of the world to start 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV) with the theme: "Equal Generation: Stand Against Rape".
The campaign started yesterday, but will be launched today by Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu at Jamhuri Stadium and end December 10, 2019.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children yesterday, in the fight against GBV, Tanzanians and stakeholders are urged to harness power and develop social strategies that will bring a lasting solution to GBV.
With the proposed slogan, it gives people the impetus to ensure everyone in his or her position takes action to prevent and eradicate sexual acts of violence especially rape against women and children in various places, including homes, the workplace, schools and many other places in soci-ety.
According to Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey and Malaria Indicator Survey (TDHS-MIS 2015/16), 40 per cent of women aged 15-49 had been sexually abused once or more during that period.
In addition, 20 per cent of women aged 15-49 had experienced physical violence during the past 12 months. Likewise, 9 per cent of women aged 15-49 had been physically abused without their consent.
Such violence was more directed towards married women. The research also shows that half of married women had experienced 39 per cent physical violence, 36 per cent emotional abuse and 14 per cent sexual violence. Among the cases reported included rape, strokes, insults, homosexuality, child abduction, female genital mutilation (FGM) and abortion among students.
Thus, 16 Days of Activism against GBV aims at increasing the fight against GBV by sharing information and experience, building capacity, effective use of available resources and harnessing collective strengths in mobilising, educating, reprimanding and taking action together to combat GBV in communities.
The origin of these celebrations are from late UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan who made the declaration in 2006 to recognise GBV against women and girls as a serious problem and suggested that there should be a special campaign against sexual violence that would be held from November 25 to December 10, each year.
In some parts of our country good results have begun to be achieved by involving the people themselves, especially involving community leaders such as religious leaders, traditional leaders, prominent elders and other people who have a voice in society.
The government has overseen the establishment of 11,520 women and child protection committees at all levels from national level to the grassroots.
It has also conducted training for 1,251 committees to build capacity in the fight against violence directed towards women and girls.
Apart from community participation non-governmental organisations have been involved in the fight against GBV in the country, especially rural areas.
Already the police across the country have established special gender desks that handle cases related to gender violence for both women and children.