Welcome to Thorns of Roses; the blog that lends a voice to Tanzanian women for the revolutionary ears of the the world. This blog documents real stories of abuse, hardship and triumph as told by real women.

In June 2016, I discovered my purpose while conducting in-depth interviews on sense of agency in low-income Tanzanian women. All participants were informed that the interview will consist of 20 set questions before commencing. Much to my surprise or rather, horror, majority of the women I interviewed ignored the set questions and instead, proceeded to painfully share their experiences with abuse: physical, sexual and emotional. Most women expressed that this was the first time they spoke of their tragedies because they were afraid of backlash from the police or society. I was struck not only by the recurrence and commonality of abuse incidents, but more so by the lack of care and help offered to the victims on neither individual nor institutional levels, which is why I have created this space.

As a psychologist, I work extensively with statistics. A lot of work and research done on gender violence focuses primarily on numbers. However, the experience I had with the women has highlighted the power of an original voice, especially one that we don’t hear often. So I want to invite you to lend your ears to these stories and walk briefly in the footsteps of women who know no other reality but deserve a better life, one that we wish upon our daughters and sisters. As much as these women seek to be heard and helped, it is important to note that they have agreed to share their stories with the hope of helping at least one other woman escape their own prison of abuse. So as you read, visualize the raw courage of the women who are willing to relive their trauma in order to help another. I hope you will be inspired to help in whatever capacity, wherever you are, to end abuse against women.

**All the stories you will read on this blog are translated from Swahili after detailed thematic analysis to preserve the original meaning and emotions. All women have given their informed consent to have their stories published.



Araika-Zawadhafsa Mkulo
Psychologist| Activist| Humanist| Researcher| Lover of life| Tanzanian
BA Psychology, Cornell University
MSc Cognition in Science and Society, The University of Edinburgh