Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape is prohibited and punishable by imprisonment. Nevertheless, rape--including rape of female refugees--was a problem (see section 2.d.). No reliable data on the extent of rape were available. The law does not specifically address spousal rape. Police often detained alleged perpetrators, but rape cases usually were not tried. Authorities fined and released most suspects. Communities sometimes compelled rape victims to marry their attackers.
Although the law prohibits violence against women, domestic violence was widespread. Police rarely intervened, and women had limited legal recourse, although they could report cases of violence and abuse to local human rights organizations. The government did not provide psychosocial services for victims; family or traditional authorities often did.
According to the 2014-15 Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the Chadian National Statistical Institute, 15 percent of women suffered physical violence in the last 12 months. Women in the Hadjer-Lamis Region reported the fewest incidents (3 percent), while women in the Tandjile Region reported the highest (31 percent). Six percent of women had been victimized by sexual violence during the past 12 months.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FCM/C): The law prohibits FGM/C for girls and women, but the practice remained widespread, particularly in rural areas. According to 2015 UNICEF statistics, 44 percent of girls and women had undergone excision, with rates as high as 90 to 100 percent in some regions. According to the 2014-15 Demographic and Health Survey, 38 percent of women in the country had been cut. FGM/C varied by region, with 1 percent of women excised in the regions of Kanem and Lac and 96 percent in the region of Salamat. Forty-seven percent of women had undergone the procedure between ages five and nine and 37 percent between ages 10 and 14. Practitioners performed all three types of FGM/C--clitoridectomy, excision, and infibulation. Infibulation--the least common but most severe and dangerous type--was confined largely to the Eastern Region bordering Sudan.
By law FGM/C may be prosecuted as a form of assault, and charges may be brought against the parents of victims, medical practitioners, or others involved. Nevertheless, the lack of specific penalties hindered prosecution, and authorities prosecuted no cases during the year.
The Ministry of Women, Early Childhood Protection, and National Solidarity is responsible for coordinating activities to combat FGM/C. The government, with assistance from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), conducted public awareness campaigns to discourage FGM/C and highlight its dangers. The campaign encouraged the public to speak out against FGM/C and other abuses of women and girls.
Sexual Harassment: The law does not prohibit sexual harassment, which occurred.
Reproductive Rights: The law provides for the right of couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and have access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence. Many persons, however, lacked access to reproductive information or care, particularly in rural areas. The UNFPA estimated only 3 percent of women used any form of contraception; according to 2014 statistics from the National Institute of Statistics, 5 percent of married women used modern contraceptive methods.
According to the 2014-15 Demographic and Health Survey, skilled and trained personnel attended 24 percent of births nationwide; 73 percent of births in N’Djamena were attended. The maternal mortality rate was 860 deaths per 100,000 live births. Factors contributing to maternal mortality included adolescent pregnancies, multiple closely spaced births, and lack of access to medical care. The country had a severe shortage of health-care providers (fewer than 400 physicians) and a significant shortage of nurses, midwives, hospital staff, and specialists, such as obstetricians. Prenatal care remained limited, particularly in rural areas. Low immunization rates and poor postnatal education were problems.
Discrimination: Although property and inheritance laws provide the same legal status and rights for women as for men, family law discriminates against women, and discrimination against and exploitation of women were widespread. Local leaders settled most inheritance disputes in favor of men, according to traditional practice. Women did not have equal opportunities for education and training, making it difficult for them to compete for formal sector jobs. Women suffered discrimination in access to employment, housing, credit, and pay equity for substantially similar work and in owning or managing businesses. The law does not address polygyny; men may opt at any time to marry additional wives under Islamic law. In such cases the first wife has the right to request her marriage be dissolved but must repay her bride price.
In February 2015 the government staffed the House of the Chadian Woman, established in 2014 for women to have a venue to discuss women’s rights issues and participate in the national decision-making process. In August 2015 the Ministry of Women, Social Action, and National Solidarity was renamed the Ministry of Women, Early Childhood Protection, and National Solidarity. The ministry established a Directorate of Gender Issues to oversee the House of the Chadian Woman; the directorate also provided public outreach on gender issues. During the year the budget for the House of the Chadian Woman reportedly was severely cut.