Hundreds of women running businesses in Buguruni, Ferry, and Kigogo Sambusa markets in Dar es Salaam have leveled serious allegations of acts of abuse and gender based violence conducted by some businessmen and porters against them and their colleagues.
The women, most of them operating small businesses, have also blamed market managements for not taking serious measures against perpetrators of such barbaric and inhuman acts.
Speaking during a media visit to the markets coordinated by Equality for Growth (EFG) an NGO evaluating acts of gender based violence in Dar es Salaam markets, the women said they are abused, beaten and sexually assaulted and that even they report the culprits to their market managements no action is taken against them.
Hamida Idd (34), chairperson of Ferry businesswomen said that sometimes men would pretend to be customers and would eat food or drink tea on loan and when the women approach them for payment, they would abuse them and touch them inappropriately by force.
“I am running ‘Mamantile’ business here at Ferry Fish Market. One day a customer came and drank a cup of porridge. When I asked him for payment, he simply said that if I wanted money, I should follow him to a guest house,” she lamented.
Amina Johnson, from the Ferry Fish Market who is a victim, said such acts are rampant in the market because no stern measures were taken against the culprits.
For her part, Magreth Peter (30) selling vegetables at Ilala Market, Buguruni, said that the women were once fighting over a space with tomato sellers most of them men, who during the fight, abused them openly and stepped on their vegetables and yet the market management would not help.
“We buy these vegetables from the country side. At 9.00 am, we are supposed to wet them to keep them green but tomato sellers would come with their lorries and occupy the space until 3.00 pm when our vegetables had already dried,” she complained.
At Kigogo Sambusa, small businesswomen experience the same problem. They said that at one time, a woman was gang-raped at Msimbazi Bridge and it took fellow women to rescue her.
In another development, the women thanked EFG for the campaign against gender based violence, saying since the campaign started in November last year, such acts have gone down, because more women are now aware of their rights.
When sought for comments on the acts, Chairman of Ferry Fish Market, Rajab Ramadhan, Augustine Masenya of Kigogo Sambusa, and Said Kisomo of Ilala Market confirmed to have received the complaints and that measures were being taken to address them and asked women to report gender based violence cases.
Earlier, EFG monitoring and evaluation officer Samora Julius said that before launching the campaign, acts of gender violence were very high but after being equipped with knowledge on women’s rights, such incidents have gone down and businessmen and women including their market managements were increasingly becoming aware of women’s rights.
Meanwhile Correspondent David Kisanga reports that a recent survey on Gender based violence awareness where the total number of respondents was 2,300, 10 percent said they had exposure to GBV education and information while a shocking 88 percent admitted to not ever having any education on it, formal or otherwise.
It is in the interpretation of this survey’s findings it was discerned that, the lack of formal system and also the next to inexistent legal backup coupled with little or no community sensitization is the reason behind increasing gender based violence (GBV) across the country.
The survey was Gender Equity and Women Empowerment phase two (GEWE 2) by the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) across ten districts both on the mainland as well as in Zanzibar.
The ten districts are Unguja South, Unguja West, Wete, Ilala, Kinondoni, Kisarawe, Lindi Rural, Mvomero, Ruangwa and Newala.
Social development structures needed to be improved down to the grassroots where they are needed most.
TAMWA Director Valerie Msoka, affirmed the aim of the survey is to create common understanding on operational definition of GEWE 2 terminologies of equality, gender empowerment, rights and gender based violence.
She cited an example of Wete District where knowledge on GBV laws stood at 21 percent which was the highest against Lindi which was only 12.4 percent.
“This is happening because there is no formal way of reporting GBV and there is also no established system where communities are informed of women’s rights and are able to advocate against GBV…”
“More sensitisation is needed across the table…the general public, the local government authorities, health personnel, political as well as judicial leaders…”
Msoka stressed that the problem is widespread due to a lifestyle cultural norm that is based on male chauvinism and violence based political campaigns and desensitisation from main stream entertainment in movies and magazines that depict violence as a common, even acceptable and encouraged option.