Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Zanzibari Boys Suffer Sexual Abuse

Issa Yussuf (Daily News Tanzania 16.1.2012)

Zanzibar — STATISTICS indicate that the sexual abuse of young boys is higher than that of females in Zanzibar, Dr Msafiri Marijani, a pathologist at "One Stop Centre" at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, said.

The centre was established for victims of violence and abuse. "Although we still have a problem in verifying our data on sexual abuse, but it is apparent that more boys experience abuse, including sodomy, when compared to reported rape cases," said Marijani.

He said it was a pity that, despite the ongoing awareness, many children are still vulnerable to abuse by elderly men, most of whom happen to be neighbours and relatives.

He commended the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) and the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) for encouraging journalists to expose the crime saying that Zanzibar still requires effective communication strategies, at multiple levels, to stop the abuse.

Ms Biubwa Ali Mohamed, a counselling officer at the centre, said between two and ten cases are reported at the centre, and that it was still unable to provide all the services on time.

"These are mixed cases, a majority of which are those of sexual abuse, including rape and sodomy," she said adding that the centre still faces shortage of staff.

The Save the Children, UNICEF, and UNFPA are international organizations helping to protect children and women against abuse in Zanzibar.

In 2009, the Zanzibar government, in collaboration with some development partners, carried out a national survey on violence against children (VAC) indicating that sexual violence is a serious problem in the isles.

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