COVID-19 Increased violence against Children at home

20Jan 2022
Martha Magawa
The Guardian
COVID-19 Increased violence against Children at home

Tanzania is one of the countries in Africa that has been hit by Covid-19. Despite the disease causing the global economic downturn, girls are among the groups most affected by the epidemic including sexual violence such as rape, abortion, shameful attacks and so on.

Thelesia Mdendemi, Assistant Inspector of Police and Gender and Children in Dodoma Region acknowledges that it is true that during the crown period, girls suffered many consequences.

"When I say sexual violence, it is all about sexual issues, for example, many children were raped, raped, aborted, sexually assaulted, tried to rape the other sexual organs, for example, shameful attempts to rape and things like that and worse. Many children had their dreams cut off for that reason, '' Thelesia explained.

Thelesia notes that in the early stages of schooling they were receiving five children from the same school as pregnant.

"These incidents have continued to be reported so far and you can see the numbers are getting bigger than before so due to the period when they were not going to school they missed something that would make them. We know that right now many parents leave in the morning and return in the evening because of concern for their children.

"Now because of the parents' concern for the children during the day, the children found themselves free so they could do anything as a result, many have been able to get pregnant," Thelesia explained.

He says the period when teachers were absent with students, students seemed to have raised themselves due to many parents' responsibilities at the time. It then caused the girls to have unintended pregnancies.

“School is a place of upbringing. When teachers repeat some of the things they remind the children as well. Except when a child is at home the current upbringing is a little different. Because of that they have been half.

Their parents are thinking about caring for the family and providing the basic necessities for the children and forgetting their parental responsibility as parents, ”Thelesia explained.

Community Development Officer in Bahi District in Dodoma Region, Monica Chosongela, says the biggest challenge they have seen in the community at the time is the increase in acts of sexual violence against girls such as rape, child homosexuality, teenage pregnancy and marriage. of childhood.

"That period because most of the children were at home and as we know a large percentage of child protection when schools are open the child spends a lot of time in school we believe that teachers are the ones who protect them but in the period when they are at home there is negligence by parents and children are free on the streets.

During that period sexual violence has been rampant but also the issue of child marriage has emerged on a large scale. Considering now the parents leave in the morning and return in the evening so such violence has been great due to life as it is now, '' Chisongela explained.

Sara Mwaga, Director of AFNET, which deals with women's, children's rights, sexual violence, reproductive health, and sexuality. “There is a case we heard of a young man who aborted his two sisters at the same time.

That is because at that time they were sitting at home as you know young people for lack of care and found themselves indulging in sexual acts.

But some girls were raped and sexually assaulted by close relatives. Others and parents. Pregnancy increased but with unofficial information I have received for example in Chamwino District, more than eighty (80) primary and secondary school children became pregnant during the coronation period so the impact is huge, ”Sara explained.

In the case of Tarime District in Mara Region, Jovitha Alphonce, Project Officer of the Children's Dignity Forum (CDF), said the girls went through various challenges including some getting pregnant, escaping, noting that according to the information provided and police for a period of four months to June the pregnancies were more than seventeen (17).

"These are cases that have been reported to the police station, but there were also 25 cases of rape in the fourth and sixth months, but there were also 36 cases of student evasion all of which were reported by the police," Jovitha explained.

He says unlike the cases reported by their CDF police in collaboration with service providers, the Department of Social Welfare and Health was able to help service providers move to rural areas where they have been working so they were able to meet various unreported cases of sexual violence.

“There were 34 cases of rape, 35 cases of kidnapping of students, 25 physical abuse and 34 of children roaming the streets. So we see that in the crown period girls had a big impact, '' Jovitha further explained.

He explained that the reasons for the incident were due to the parents' failure to fulfill their responsibility to protect them.

During that time they believed that parents would be at the forefront of fulfilling their children's responsibilities but that was not the case. A lady who is found in Dodoma Region has told me the story that happened to her granddaughter of a primary school located in the Region here.

Her granddaughter faced the same challenge of sexual violence after being raped by a 17-year-old boy.

According to information he received from the girl's mother, the girl suffered the tragedy while searching for her younger sister, who was not at home for three hours at night. It was then that he met the young man who took her by the hand and pulled her into a small forest and performed the act for her. “In the rape he shouted people heard and went to the area as his mother was telling me.

After the neighbors went there, the boy ran away. After the flight, the men took responsibility and sent the child home.

Soon her mother returned home and was told what had happened to her son. The next thing they did was go to the embassy the same night and then go to the police at night and take the child to hospital and he was found raped, '' he said.

One of the secondary school teachers from Dar es Salaam says that during the period when the children were at home they were not cared for by the parents the children were free so in some areas especially for girls they found themselves getting pregnant.

"We have not received the case here but there are some areas due to the children being free they found themselves pregnant so some could not go back to school. I heard an example of some districts where children became pregnant on the Covid-19 holiday. at school for boys and girls they were very heavy on reading, ”he said.

The teacher of Dodoma Mlimani Primary School in Dodoma, Godfrey Abel, says there is no case in their school of students getting pregnant or being subjected to acts of violence. Some children have been unable to continue their studies due to various temptations that have led them to fail to continue their studies including carrying a pregnancy during the holiday season.

In addition, he said at the time, some communities also used the crown to circumcise children. "Because the children were at home and some of them were free they were recruited and it led to some of them getting pregnant.

A student at Mbogi Secondary School in Tarime in Mara Region, Rachel Chacha, (not her real name) says the girls suffered atrocities but some of them got pregnant on holiday in the crown.

“Pregnancy only got so many! I think the issue of abortion should be addressed as many were saying that the reason for girls getting pregnant is due to poverty thus leading girls to engage in sexual acts, '' he said. In the case of Dodoma Primary School student Elizabeth David says in their school no student has become pregnant but in other schools there are those who became pregnant during the corona period and it is all due to parents freeing children without proper supervision at the time.

“During the crown period a large percentage of girls became pregnant. For example there were parents who were going on and their activities gave their children the freedom to join bad groups. These groups contributed to pregnancy in girls.

No one in our school got pregnant, ”she said. According to a statement issued by the Executive Director of the Tanzania Gender Network (TGNP) Lilian Liundi in April 2020, on the crown virus and its effects on women and girls he stated that children were at risk of getting teenage pregnancies.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH condemned VIOLENCE

Acts of sexual violence to children vimebainika take root in the district of  Kibondo Kigoma region where reports of the District shows that children 981 were given pregnancy in the past six months January to June 2021.

The report noted while Deputy Minister Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Hon. Mwanaidi Ali Khamis in the district to inspect and inspect the provision of social welfare services and social development issues.

Deputy Minister Mwanaidi said the information could not be ignored and instead the relevant authorities should do everything possible to ensure that the suspects are found and justice is done in the shortest possible time.

In addition, Deputy Minister Mwanaidi added that society cannot rely on miracles of success for the next generation if it remains to turn a blind eye to acts of sexual violence especially against women and children by watching their children get pregnant at a young age and interrupting their dreams.

Kibondo District Council Social Welfare Officer Sophia Gwamagobe commended the joint efforts between the Government and development partners in finding a solution to the problems among Tanzanians, including combating acts of gender-based violence against women and children.