When this week we start commemorating 16 days of fighting Gender Based violence, In Tanzania the riddle needs expert to resolve it. It is mostly believed that men commit GBV. Research from the Ministry for Health and Social Welfare has revealed that 45 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 have been victims of domestic violence. In addition, 75 per cent of children experience physical abuse at the hands of family or authority figures before they are 18 years old. Yet only 40 per cent of victims report the violence. Not reporting the violence can be a part of the riddle, but here we are directing our argument to something else.
Some efforts have been done in Tanzania to fight GBV For example,
President Kikwete has publicly stated that gender-based violence should be included as one of the Millennium Development Goals.
Furthermore, Tanzania’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP), the National Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction, lists violence against women as one of its indicators of poverty—a feature that is rare among PRSPs in other countries.
Tanzanian law has shown some progress in preventing and punishing GBV crimes. For example, the Sexual Offence Special Provisions Act of 1998 poses harsh penalties for perpetrators of sexual violence. However, gaps remain in the legal system. In particular, domestic violence is only minimally and vaguely addressed in The Law of Marriage Act—although without specified penalties—and through the penal codes on general violence and assault. There is no law against domestic violence, specifically.
House girls are facing Gender based violence, which in most cases, women are involved than men. There are cases of rape among house girls, but women fuel mostly the mistreatment they face. While the whole world is blaming men in Afrika to  be on the read in GBV, women are also a apart of it.
It is believed that in Tanzania, some women are involved in human trafficking for commercial sex work; they transport girls from different pats of Tanzania and bring them in big cities for commercial sex work. It is a kind of slavery, where girls sell sex and handover money they receive to their bosses who in most cases are women. This is one of the worst GBV being practised in Tanzania. Even in villages in Tanzania, this practice is there, a good example is “Nyumbatobu” culture practised in Mara region, where women pay dowry to marry girls! It is believed that, one woman can marry up to four or five girls. These girls are not free, they follow orders from their bosses who are women. They sex with men chosen by  their bosses and if it happens to have a baby,  the mother is always the bosses who are women.
Recently the Assistant Police commissioner Adolhina Chialo, said that “The number of men coming to police station to report being beaten by their wives is increasing everyday in Dar-es-salaam. Even in other places in Tanzania, there is this kind of report. Before, it was shameful a man to report being beaten by their wives, but now things is changing”.
A resent research carried on 22nd November 2013 at Kisuma Bar, Mwembeyanga, Temeke, Dar-es-salaam confirmed the GBV riddle in Tanzania. Six women among many women working at this Bar were interviewed on the GBV behaviour believed to be a culture of this Bar. Surprisingly, three women responded positively, insisting not  to have experienced an kind of GBV at their working place. “ I am enjoying my work, I have three children and they are all attending school, I am able to pay for their school fees from the salary I receive from my work here at Kisuma Bar” Mary Kaisi (pseudo name) commented during the interview. Even the manager of Kisuma Bar supported their opinion, saying, “Kisuma Bar, is a non GBV zone”. Other three women responded negatively, saying that Kisuma Bar, is a place of GBV; they work long hours with a little pay, when a worker gets pregnant, that is a self termination, they are exposed to sexual harassment to attract the customers; when they complain of mistreatment their work is terminated.
Mr Kafana Mbyango (Pseudo name) a regular customer of Kisuma Bar, was an eye opener of the GBV riddle at Kisuma Bar where three bar maid supported the opinion of having GBV at  the Bar and the other three were completely against this opinion. “You know those who are against the opinion are being paid well than the other three,  they have an intimate relationship with the manager and the proprietor. As longer as  they have good working conditions, they seem not to consider gender based violence other workers are facing. In other words these women are a part and parcel of GBV”
Other customer Kafunje Kayoza (Pseudo name), used GBV language “ My opinion is that all women working here at Kisuma Bar are prostitutes! As longer us they are selling beer not tea, and they are working for money, what do you aspect? They are abused morning till evening, at the end of the day they end up in bed”
The riddle is, while we are used to blame men committing GBV, it seems in Tanzania women are also committing GBV. We need to direct our efforts no only fighting violence against women, but Gender based violence in the real sense. Is this riddle hiding only in Tanzania or it is in other African countries?
Fr. Privatus Karugendo.
+255 754 633122


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