WHICHEVER way one might look at it, the recent series of child sexual molestation in Tanzania and other countries alike boggles one’s mind and creates a feeling that somewhere parenting on the side of the parents is not given the focus it deserves.
In any African tradition upbringing a child was a collective responsibility and it was a taboo and unheard of for any person (read males in most cases) to molest a baby-girl.
Where have we derailed? Today when one reads papers, be it in Tanzania, Rwanda and other parts of the world, child-protection on the side of the public including their biological and guardians in some cases has been taken for granted.
For instance, The Times of Rwanda published an article yesterday, reporting that a total of 2,167 defilement cases were registered by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) between 2018 and 2020 involving children aged below ten.
Most recently, our local media also pointed sexual abuse to be taking a mass scale, where the perpetrators are the people the children tend to trust and interact with in their daily lives.
A report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2017, states that in January to December 2016, 10, 551 cases of crimes against children were reported with rape cases being more than 4,423. According to section 4 (1) of the Children’s Act 2009, A child is any person under the age of 18 that prohibits discrimination and violence of any kind against children.
Commenting on the Global Status Report on Preventing Violence against Children 2020 report, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said ending violence against children is a collective responsibility and it is time to fully fund a comprehensive national action plans that will keep children safe at home, at school, online and in their communities.
The frequency of this problem suggests that sexual offenders are not all evil or sick people, but ordinary family members and friends, who should be protecting them.
To make it worse, sexual violence takes place in homes, streets and school settings, in which some male teachers and parents, bodaboda riders, you name it instead of taking care and serving the children to realise their goals, turn to be their abusers.
In a way the government is doing a lot including establishing gender and child Desk in Police Stations to address this menace, but its full eradication must start from you and I.