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As Tanzania joins the rest of the world in commemorating the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence for the elimination of violence against women which runs from 25th November to 10th December, data from the ministry of home affairs indicates that 6168 children were abused and 3524 were raped.

In the Kigoma region, there are still experiencing different forms of sexual and gender violence SGBV in different proportions, whereas the new form of violence against children has emerged in the Kibondo district which needs the attention of government officials to deal with the matter.

With the visit of deputy health minister Mwanaidi Khamisi to Kibondo district, she found out that 980 students/pupils were pregnant for the period of January to June 2021 a number that scary the outcome of the children’s future.

In Biturana village I find the family that is struggling to put food on the table and at the same time the mother of the children is wondering where to get the support of uplifting her 6 children after the father of the children has left her leaving in poverty.

A mother decides to initiate a business that was headed by her children, they used to sell fruits in the street after school hours, and this is where one of the children was sexually abused by a man who called her to sell him the fruits in the hotel within Kibondo town.

“Tausi (not a real name) said, my mother told me to sell fruits in the street so that I can help her get money to feed the family, a man called me to sell him bananas, he asked me to peel them and throw the peels in the dustbin in his room its where he raped me and told me if am to say to anyone he will kill me while covering my eyes with fabric”

The mother of the child said she had nowhere to report after she found out, she treated her child locally and kept it for herself until when she was visited by one of the positive parenting group members educating them on the importance of breaking the silence when they are abused.

“I wish I could know the man who raped my child and report him to the police, I was ignorant of even taking my child to the hospital, I treated her using local herbals until she got better, it hurts me seeing my child in this situation, my child has lost hope, and is afraid of going to sell fruits anymore, she segregates herself from others” explained the mother in tears.

Not only Tausi, but I also have met a 13 years boy Tauhidi, begging in the street for money to feed her mother who at the time is sick and the father has left them for another woman.

“I’m begging for money to feed my sick mother and later I go to school, (adult education at brothers of charity), my father abandoned us, my elder sister and brother have escaped the taught life at home and went to Dar-es-Salaam to look for a job, while my sister is working as a housemaid, they send money to our mother but recently we have no money in our pocket I don’t know what to do to cure my mother, I have to beg for her medication,” said Tauhid

Local studies show that 70% lose the case of SGBV and other cases due to poor investigation and lack of facts. The case of charity is typical of a scenario of a lack of the type of mechanism to report to apprehend and accuse the perpetrators.

Explain the major violence within the Kibondo district, social welfare officer Sophia Gwamagobe said, family separation, alcoholism, and parents’ irresponsibility are measure sources of childhood abuse to many families within the districts, men prefer polygamy marriages and leave behind the other family.

“I have never heard of the new form of child abuse, I promise to work on it and find its solution, though what’s common here is a family separation where the father leaves the mother with full responsibilities of child-raising, it becomes difficult for a mother alone, and sometimes needs a support from her kids without knowing they can be violated,” She said.

Gwamagobe said they continue educating the mass using positive parenting groups which are found in every ward for through education the society can change in time, and adding parents must pay full responsibilities in raising their children and protecting their rights and at the same time children but be responsible for their actions.

On her side UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutters, in her special message to the international day of elimination of violence against women said,  violence against women and girls is a global pandemic that brings humiliation to all societies around the world, it’s immoral and lack of respect to one’s dignity.

The local research also shows that women with low education, economic dependant, and relation vulnerable are mostly affected by the violence and that the government should keep supporting these women to make sure they become economically stable and girls’ children must get an education.

Talking to Sophia Lebel, director at Kigoma Women Development Organization (KIWODE) said, parental conflicts and separation bring children into abuse and disempowerment which results in violation of their rights and destruction of their dreams.

“Parents conflicts and separation leads to child labor and other violation of children’s rights, I once received a case where a child was left alone after parents have separated, the girl came from Ilagala to Kigoma town for work where she got married at a young age, we intervened the issue after the father of the child gave us information, and helped the child to get back to school” its improper, said Lebel.

 She said parents should be responsible to raise their children because they are the source of their being, children future is in the hands of parents, they should be ashamed with the behavior of leaving children to raise by themselves, and be proud to be called parents its blessings not a curse.

According to Sadiki Akili, an advocate from HAMASA Advocates said chapter 16 of the Penal Code Section 166 reviewed in 2019 states that any person who, being a parent or guardian or any other person in the legal custody of any child under 18 years, has the capacity, to care for the child, whether or not to the law, or without good reason refusing to care for, and abandoning the child without help, would have committed an offense, and thus the child has to report to the social welfare office for a parent to be held accountable.

He also said, pursuant to section 169A (2) of the Penal Code Act a person convicted of such an offense is liable to imprisonment for a term not less than 5 years and not more than 15 years or a fine not exceeding Tzs.300, 000/k or both (imprisonment and fine) and he or she may be ordered to pay compensation to the child concerned (money in the amount determined by the Court) if he or she has been abused and harmed.

After the case of abuse is reported to the relevant authority of the social welfare office and police gender office for action to be taken section 18 (1) of the Child Act (Chapter 13 Review 2019) the welfare officer may file an application to the Court requesting that the relevant child be released in a dangerous environment and placed under safe supervision.

Written by. Adela Madyane

Edited by. Prosper Kwigize

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