Tanzania Daily News Dar es Salaam
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

The government has been urged to ensure legislation is in place and 1971 Marriage Act that addresses family and gender based violence (GBV) and bring to an end child marriage is amended, it has been learnt.

The hint was made yesterday in Dar es Salaam, just a day as Tanzania joins other world communities to mark 16 Days Against Gender Violence slated for tomorrow.

Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) Director Dr Judith Odunga told reporters that the government should form councils to handle complaints arising from a vast community members exposed to such violence.

She said cultural practices coupled with unresolved complaints of school students have for long been forming part of gender violence. She suggested that the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training and that of Legal and Constitution Affairs should work together to abolish the current Marriage Act or amend it.

« Violence has greater impact on a student’s academic performance. Between Nov 25 and December 10 Wildaf in collaboration with UN-Women and a Network Against Gender Violence loosely known as ‘MKUKI’ and other stakeholders will mark the 16-day annual event.

 » She hinted that the occasion will involve campaigns of creating public awareness solely to enhance education in the fight against GBV. « Violence against women is still a big challenge in Tanzania, » she observed.

UNICEF report released in 2011 showed at least 3 girls out of ten and one boy out of seven aged between 13-24 are victims of GBV with further clarifications that six percent of the girls become victims of sex abuse below 18 years.

« The very violence is meted to the victims by people who are their close family members. It also includes their partners, teachers, and that only 32.2 percent of girls and 16.6 percent of boys face sex abuse from unknown people, » she pointed.

Dr Odunga further said that such practices are seen where attention from elders is highly required, singling out schools, homes and sometimes in commuter buses. It was observed that the annual event will seek to remind the general public and policy makers to take actions that help address gender based violence.