A RESEARCH which was conducted by the Moshi-based non governmental entity Network Against Female Genital Mutilation (NAFGEM) has revealed five additional areas of gender harassment and humiliation in some selected villages in Kiliamanjaro region. Addressing participants to a one-day seminar on the outcome of the research findings, which was held at YMCA headquarters here yesterday, NAFGEM Executive Coordinator, Mr Francis Selasini mentioned economic harassment as one of the areas where many youths migrate to urban centres to earn a living. He said according to the research which was carried out in all the six districts in the region involving five villages in each district, such youths engage themselves in petty businesses, sell beverages and are employed as house servants. Mr Selasini said traditional customs in many communities deny women and girls the right to own properties as they regard women as part of properties owned by their husbands, and female children as properties of their would-be husbands. Therefore they have no chance of inheriting any family property. The Executive Coordinator also said cases of sexual abuse were increasing at an alarming rate, and mentioned cases such as rape, sodomy and incest by males, adding that in some families, gender related violence is the order of the day as spouses engage themselves in fighting one another and refuse to indulge in marital relationship and food. He said the research, which was sponsored by the Foundation for Civil Society, also found out that in some families, female children are denied their right to access formal education and instead are forced to work for long hours to cater for their families. Mr Selasini mentioned oppressive traditional customs against women and lack of education on basic rights and responsibilities of every family member as some of the causes that have perpetrated gender harassment and abuses. Other causes include bad and unethical behaviours by individuals, such as indulgence in drunkenness, prostitution, sexual promiscuity, improper use of family resources, selfishness, laziness, to mention but a few. There is also lack of essential social services, lack of equality in the distribution of family resources as well as lack of commitment by state organs to safeguard the rights of women and female children, he told the seminar participants who included Moshi-based journalists and some NAFGEM members. NAFGEM, which was founded in 1999, is an association of individuals, groups, institutions and other NGOs dedicated to the eradication of female genital mutilation in Tanzania. According to Mr Selasini, it is estimated that in Tanzania alone over 18 million women are victims of female genital mutilation, with Arusha region leading by 81 %, followed by Dodoma (68 %), Mara (44 %), Kilimanjaro (37 %), Iringa (27 %), Singida (25%) and Morogoro (20 %). Source: Daily News Very sad story and hard to believe!