In her statement ahead of the 16 days of activism, TAMWA executive director Dr Rose Reuben said despite the existence of good laws and policies, such violence still persists in society, especially for children and women.
This year's theme is ‘End Gender-Based Violence Now’ while the global theme is ‘Orange the world: End violence against women now’.
Dr Reuben said that the celebrations come at a time when the latest statistics show extreme cases of sexual violence, including rape.
Mwanaidi Ali Khamis, Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Deputy Minister was quoted in the National Assembly as saying between January and September, this year, 6168 children were abused, whereby, 3524 were raped. She also said that 1887 students were impregnated during that period.
Dr Reuben said the figures meant that, if immediate action was not taken then within a year, more than 7,000 children would have been raped or more than 12,000 children would have been abused.
“These new statistics are alarming and make us TAMWA see perhaps stakeholders, including government, parents and guardians, agree and state that; "Rape is now a tragedy 'we see it as the right time for stakeholders on issues of gender-based violence, to live together and plan new strategies,” he noted.
In another development, TAMWA commended the court for passing sentences and closely monitoring rape cases.
“It is important for the nation, now to continue to develop alternative and new ways to deal with this scourge. We call it a catastrophe because, 3524 children are raped not lame, but a major problem in our society that completely destroys the future of the next generation,” he said.
Dr. Reuben said women continue to receive beatings, rapes, verbal abuse in their communities and making them a grieving group and sometimes hate their gender.
“This violence has short-term, long-term, economic, physical and psychological effects on women and girls and children in general, as it prevents them from fully and equitably participating in their communities,” she said.
She said statistics from the United Nations Women-based Organization (UN-Women) show violence against women is often perpetrated by a partner, ex-husband or current spouse. It is estimated that more than 640 million women aged 15 and over have been abused by their partners.
She said the violence was said to cause depression, grief, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS, and sometimes suicide victims.