Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) is a significant global concern that affects all aspects of society. Although violence is a threat to everyone, women and children are particularly vulnerable due to their limited rights and lack of protection. Globally, women are the majority of victims of sexual exploitation and forced labor, with one-third of women experiencing physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. In addition, over 250 million adolescent girls are forced into marriage.
Tanzania has relatively high rates of (VAWC), with 46.2% experiencing physical or sexual violence, 30.5% forced into child, early, or forced marriages, and 10% undergoing Female Genital Mutilation. In addition, over one-third of girls experience sexual violence before reaching adulthood1. In 2017/18, 1,091 cases of VAWC were reported, with 87% of the victims being children and 13% women.
VAWC is associated with existing systems, structures, and attitudes shaped by patriarchy, creating inequalities between women and men. Tanzania ranks 140 and 82 in the Gender Equality Index and Global Gender Gap Index, respectively, indicating the severity of gender inequality. According to the OECD’s Social Institutions and Gender Index, VAWC is more acute in Mainland Tanzania than in Zanzibar. VAWC has enormous health and economic costs to society. Costs related to the health system, counseling and other services, justice, child welfare support, lost wages, productivity, and potential all contribute to the societal cost. The cost of VAWC could amount to around 2% of the global gross domestic product. VAWC is a barrier to sustainable development, and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development included VAWC as a target area under Goal 5 on gender equality.