• Blandina Malinzi

Sexual harassment and abuse among students in Tanzania

(Photo courtesy of google images)

Students in Tanzania, especially girls of primary and secondary school, are often the victims of sexual harassment and assault not only from their fellow young male but also from their teachers. These issues have caused them to abandon their studies, drop in their school performance, some drop out of school, often creating a psychological impact where they feel that they are not good enough.

It is sexual and violence awareness month and we as a society need to raise and educate awareness among adolescents. Due to student’s fear of failing or disappointing their parents, some decide to have sexual affairs with their tutors so that they can get the good grades and be able to graduate. Why should students feel the need to sleep with their instructor so that they can pass and get good grades?

(Photo courtesy of google images)

Sexual Harassment in schools usually occurs during passing, recess, or during lunch. Sexual harassment can range from a quick glance to a hoot or whistle. In many cases, one does not know that they are being harassed or harassing someone.

(Photo courtesy of Tai Studio)

Some of these issues of unwanted pregnancies due to rape, early marriage, and forced sexual activities like prostitution, all of which affects their academic abilities and ultimately lead them to drop out of school in fear of harassment or embarrassment from other students.

According to Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Centre’s (LHRC) 2012 human rights report, 43,129 students dropped out of school due to pregnancy, early marriage, rape, and truancy.

(Photo courtesy of google images)

Becoming single parents without moral or financial support system further victimizes adolescents. One of the saddest things about sexual harassment is that victims feel uncomfortable and somehow end up blaming themselves. Frequently our society puts the victim as being the causative agent in attracting sexual harassment perpetrators. It is also common in court cases for the defendant's attorney to place the blame for harassment on the victim of the crime.

A recent talk with a nurse at Mwanaymala Hospital in Dar es salaam, recounted to have received reports from primary and secondary students who have been through traumatic events such as underage pregnancy who are also rape victims, and other kinds of sexual assaults at a young both at schools and at home.

(Photo courtesy of google images)

We need to protect our children and not let people get away with these crimes no matter what. Perpetrators should get severe punishment that will make the next person think hard when they plan to attack their next victim.

We at Tai Tanzania raise awareness and educate adolescents and the community on sexual and reproductive health issues and we want to help adolescents to be able to reach the full potential. We condemn sexual harassment, as every child deserves to have a chance to fulfil her or his destiny without any inference.

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