Gender-based violence in Tanzania by statistics

Understanding Gender-Based Violence: Shining a Light on Tanzania’s Silent Crisis

Gender-based violence refers to any form of violence, harm, or discrimination that is inflicted upon individuals based on their gender or gender identity. It specifically targets individuals because of their perceived or actual gender roles, expectations, or inequalities. Gender-based violence can occur in various forms, including physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse. It is deeply rooted in gender inequality and power imbalances, and it disproportionately affects women and girls.

Examples of gender-based violence include domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, intimate partner violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriages, honor killings, trafficking, and discriminatory practices in areas such as education, employment, and access to resources.

In Tanzania, 40% of all women aged 15-49 years have experienced physical violence, while 17% have experienced sexual violence. Of women aged 15-49, 44% have experienced either physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. (DAR ES SALAAM, April 5, 2022. World Bank)

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to any form of abuse that occurs within intimate relationships or households. In developing countries like Tanzania, the causes of domestic violence can include gender inequality, rigid gender roles, cultural norms that condone violence, lack of access to education and economic opportunities for women, and limited awareness about human rights and legal protections. Eradicating domestic violence requires comprehensive efforts such as promoting gender equality, providing support services for survivors, implementing laws and policies against domestic violence, raising awareness, and offering counseling and rehabilitation programs for both survivors and perpetrators.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault involves any unwanted sexual contact or behavior perpetrated against an individual without their consent. In developing countries like Tanzania, the causes of sexual assault can include deep-rooted gender inequality, lack of sex education, poverty, weak law enforcement and justice systems, cultural stigmatization of survivors, and social norms that perpetuate victim-blaming. Combating sexual assault requires multifaceted approaches, including comprehensive sex education, strengthening legal frameworks, improving access to justice, providing support and counseling services for survivors, promoting gender equality, and fostering a culture of consent and respect.

Child Marriage

Child marriage refers to the marriage of individuals below the age of 18, compromising their rights to education, health, and personal development. In developing countries like Tanzania, causes of child marriage can include poverty, lack of access to education, cultural and traditional practices, gender inequality, and limited awareness of the harmful consequences. To eradicate child marriage, efforts should focus on promoting girls’ education, empowering girls and their families, implementing and enforcing laws that set a minimum age for marriage, engaging with communities and religious leaders, providing access to reproductive health services, and addressing the underlying socio-economic factors that perpetuate child marriage.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, resulting in serious physical and psychological harm. In developing countries like Tanzania, causes of FGM include cultural and social norms, patriarchal values, beliefs about female purity and marriageability, and lack of awareness about the health consequences. Eradicating FGM requires community engagement, education, and awareness programs to challenge harmful cultural beliefs, involving religious and community leaders in advocacy efforts, implementing and enforcing laws against FGM, providing support for survivors, and offering alternative rites of passage that respect cultural traditions without causing harm.

Harmful Cultural Practices

Harmful cultural practices encompass various customs and traditions that perpetuate gender inequality and violate human rights. Examples in Tanzania include breast ironing, widow inheritance, forced labor, witchcraft accusations, and denial of property rights to women. These practices are deeply entrenched in cultural beliefs and require concerted efforts to eradicate them. Strategies involve raising awareness about the negative impacts of harmful practices, engaging with community leaders and influencers, empowering women and girls, providing legal protections, strengthening access to justice, and promoting gender equality through education and social programs.