EDITORIAL: It's time to end violence against minors

Thursday August 22 2019

The Legal and Human Rights Centre reports that sexual harassment against minors increased by 29 per cent during January-to-June this year, compared to the same period last year is disheartening.

This, the report stresses, is especially regarding defilement of minors. Sullying a minor is a punishable offence on account of the statutory fact that persons below 18 cannot lawfully consent to sex, as they’re still under the age of full legal responsibility.

Sexual harassment against minors is bad enough. But, more unsettling is that other forms of violation against minors – including corporal punishment – are also on the rise.

There was a 34 per cent increase of all the human rights abuses during the period under review, LHRC states in its report compiled by using statistics from various authorities and the media.

Indeed, violence against minors has been more than steadily rising in Tanzania in recent years and decades – as established in researches by assorted authorities.

One of the studies was the 2009 Multi-Sectoral Task Force (MSTF) on Violence against Children in Tanzania which was funded and coordinated by Unicef – and which consisted of representatives from the UN, US-CDCs, MUHAS and various government institutions...

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As noted in The Citizen yesterday, the increase in violence and harassment is higher in some regions of the country – and relatively insignificant in others.

However, this should be no consolation. We should instead ask ourselves what it is we’re NOT doing – or are doing WRONG – to ameliorate the malady.

Much of the violence is perpetrated by close relatives, guardians, teachers, neighbours, etc. in positions of authority/responsibility over the minors – and, so, we’ve no cause to blame strangers for it.

Responsibility for the violence against our minors squarely lies with us – and, as such, we must put our house in order by removing the biblical beam in our eye before we blame others for the mote in theirs.