The Rwandan National Police in partnership with NGO’s, UN organizations, civil society and various government bodies has spearheaded the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV).
A GBV desk, under the management of Police, was established to receive complaints, follow up on cases, offer counseling and psychological support to victims and also liaise with the Judiciary to ensure offenders are punished according to the law.
However, in spite of such programs, statistics indicate that more than 45 per cent of abused women prefer to remain silent. And, according to the police officer in charge of the Gender desk, close to 70 per cent of Rwandan believe that a good wife owes unconditional obedience to her husband and consequently, some of them tend to think that violence against women should not be challenged.
These statistics show that there is need for collective effort to not only eradicate the stigma associated with being abused, but to also raise awareness about the GBV.
Challenging the fundamental causes of—and misconceptions around—GBV is an enormous undertaking that requires cooperation across multiple sectors.
Increasing gender equality, as has been proved in the country, has benefited all sectors, including the economy and politics.
Therefore, recasting GBV as a human rights issue, not just as a women’s rights issue, will be central to encouraging the general public’s intervention in preventing GBV.