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NEEDED: BETTER STRATEGY TO CURB SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Thursday April 29 2021

Violence against women has been one of many sad realities that exacerbate women’s subjugation in Tanzania. However, in this day and age, it is disturbing that sexual violence is rising.

Indeed, ending the vice is everyone’s business, but with impunity and lack of proper education to the grassroots, sexual violence will continue to prevail.

Between last October and March this year, 881 such incidents were reported. But, only 138 were taken to court. The six-month Kigoma report shows that sexual violence against women is still rampant.

Speaking at a three-day event hosted by the UN Women in Kasulu, the head of Gender and Children’s desk, Ms Doris Sweke, voiced concern over the vice. Unfortunately, many such incidences are resolved at the family level – either for lack of judicial knowledge, or fear of ruining relations.

This indeed leaves women and young girls in trauma for the rest of their lives. Only a few are lucky to return to normal after consulting psychiatrists.

Ending sexual violence against women requires us to change the way we look at it.

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Campaigns are ongoing on violence against women in Tanzania; but, they hardly convey the message to the affected societies, most of which are in rural areas where they’re still ignorant of their rights.

The Women’s Legal Aid Centre (WLAC) is doing a good job to ensure that justice is served in the interests of sexual abuse victims. However, shortage of lawyers cripples the service, and this should be addressed soonest.

Well, the police have introduced the Gender Desk network. Still, only a few women have the guts to report sexual assaults-cum-abuse.

And, sometimes those who report these crimes to the police are often met with apathy, negligence, corruption, disdain, disbelief – and even violence.

We need a better strategy to surmount sexual violence.


CHANGE TACK ON POACHING

Analysts say wildlife is crucial to Tanzania’s economy; it is the keystone to the country’s tourism sector, which accounts for about 17 percent of the gross domestic product. Unfortunately, our wildlife is steadily but surely being decimated through rampant poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

This is mostly exported to far eastern countries where items like rhino horns are considered aphrodisiacs, while live animals are needed abroad for zoos and laboratory researches/experiments.

More than 64,900 animals were exported live from Tanzania in 2015, 78 percent of which were reptiles, including chameleons, 37 species of which are found in the country.

According to the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Tanzania is home to 1,077 wildlife species which are threatened with extinction, mostly through poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

The relevant authorities should seriously consider involving the private sector as recommended in effectively curbing illegal trading in Tanzanian wildlife by syndicated kingpins.