The Tanzanian Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have urged the government to take immediate action to curb the rise of domestic violence and enact a law to prevent these incidents from occurring.
The call was made during a session on intimate partner violence organised by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) and Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), which religious leaders attended, government officials and victims as part of the just-ended CSO week in Arusha.
Advocate Fulgence Massawe, the LHRC’s Director of Advocacy and Reform, stated that it was time to take firm action to end such incidents because they have long-term and negative consequences for individuals, families and communities.
“Legal protection against domestic violence in all of its forms is critical to reducing impunity and opening avenues for redress,” he said.
He added, “Many countries around the world now have legislation in place making domestic violence against women a crime, so we request that the government enact it in our country as one of the ways to prevent such incidents,”
According to Advocate Massawe, the main reasons for the rise in these incidents are jealousy, economic violence, and mental health issues.
Intimate partner violence is domestic violence by a current or former spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner. It can take several forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic and sexual abuse.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines it as any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship, including acts of physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviours; it is sometimes referred to simply as battery or as spouse or partner abuse.
One of the victims of her partner’s cruelty, Veronika Kidemi, a teacher at Kiranyi Secondary School in Arumeru district, said her husband chopped her palm on September 26, 2020, at her home in Siwandeti Village.
According to the Tanzania Women and Men Facts and Figures booklet of 2018, almost four in ten women have experienced physical violence, and one in five women report experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime (from the age of 15). Spousal abuse, both sexual and physical, is even higher (44 per cent for married women).