As the World kicked off the annual 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign on November 25 to December 9, so did Rwanda. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
The main objective of these days is to raise awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at local, national, regional and international levels.
But if we are to deal with this issue in Rwanda, we have to extremely advocate for women to openly talk about what they are going through especially by reporting abusers to the local authorities. I understand the fact that some people are reserved in nature but keeping quiet about the injustices will not help.
For instance, if a man batters the woman he claims to love, then what hope is there for the ones he has no connection with? A violent person is always dangerous to society. You could think you are protecting your husband, brother or friend, yet you are creating a monster.
Habits such as concealing what goes on behind closed doors should be addressed if a woman is being abused. There is nothing worse than seeing a sister or a friend with a black eye from a beating she attained just because of a disagreement. When asked, she claims a car door hit her by accident. The more injustices are covered up, the graver they become. There is a common Kinyarwanda saying that goes ‘Ibihishwe birabora’ which literally means ‘when something is hidden, it rots.’
The culture of trying to cover up situations like everything is okay yet in actual sense everything is so far from okay should be discouraged. Women have to stand up and denounce any injustice especially that based on gender. When one woman speaks out, she is building confidence in another woman who is scared to speak or is teaching others the way to exercise their rights as human beings and most importantly, as women.
Therefore let us promote any forum or platform that aims at encouraging women to freely speak out about the injustices they face to save tomorrow‘s generation – hence a Gender Based Violence free Rwanda.