Polygamy in child marriage linked to violence against women

By Zacharia Alfred and Martha Kibona

“I think I am not the only one in Tanzania, the only woman in society that has been beaten, coerced into sex or abused physically and sexually offended by someone they know, including husbands or any male  family member,” says one pregnant woman from Vingunguti in Dar es Salaam.

She is the first wife of three, and her name is Clara Mussa. She is from Tanga, and she was a student before she was forced to marry Mr. Abraham Azizi from Dar es Salaam. Her dream of studies ended there and no one cared. During her first pregnancy, Abraham married another woman. She was devastated but she endured because it was a religious duty. She is currently pregnant again, and this time her husband has a third wife.

“This hurts me so much, but because I am a woman, I cannot do anything. I hate my wife mates, my husband, my parents, even my religion and my government for not supporting me,” she said.

There are many serious incidents of violence against women in Tanzania. The Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Centre 2012 report details the case of a young girl who was forced to marry at 16 years old. Her husband brutally beat her and slashed her with a machete on her head and hands. She now has a permanent disability in one of her hands. This occurred in Ruhu village found in the Rorya district of Mara region.

Omarry Juma, a resident of Vingunguti, said that it is acceptable religiously for a man to marry even four wives, but this doesn’t mean he can mistreat them, and if he does he should be punished by law.

Marry Yonakia, a resident of Bugunruni, claims “it is not fair for a man to have more than one wife while they don’t allow women to do so. Every human being acquires one heart and soul so they have to love only once in a lifetime.”

WAMATA, and NGO that focuses on women rights and development said that all woman should join their hands so as to fight against discrimination of gender. They warn men to stop mistreating women, as it is against the law and the constitution of Tanzania.

Women seem tired with this situation but they need support from people to stop these incidences. WAMATA looks to support this goal nationally and internationally, to reach an end to gender based violence.

Zacharia is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication at St. Augustine University of Tanzania. His hope for the future is to become a journalist who focuses on human rights reporting for students, especially girls. Zacharia also aspires to be a novelist.

Martha is passionate about children’s rights, and the right to education. In the future, she hopes to help children access and succeed in their educational goals.

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One comment

  1. norfolkfiona · · Reply

    Reblogged this on polygamy 911 and commented:
    Where polygamy is only for one sex, a privilege for men, monopoly on power will lead to abuse. This is why division of power was invented and led to human rights. In islam and islamic polygyny, there is no such thing as human rights.

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