[Editorial] GBV: Tougher laws will serve as deterrence

The Prosecutor-General has called for a review of the Penal Code in light of the provision on penalties against perpetrators of Gender-Based Violence.

The Prosecutor-General has called for a review of the Penal Code in light of the provision on penalties against perpetrators of Gender-Based Violence.

According to the current law, “any person convicted of harassment against a spouse like insults, assault and battery, refusal to assist in family responsibilities, denial of right to property or any act preventing him or her peaceful life shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of at least three months but less than six months.”

But now Jean-Bosco Mutangana argues that the Penal Code, in its current form, provides for a lenient punishment to offenders of Gender-Based Violence, and reckons this could be the reason the vice has remained a challenge.

GBV is a serious issue in society and should not be handled with glove hands. Indeed, anything that attacks the fabric of the family affects the socio-economic development and security of the country.

The Prosecutor-General’s position on the matter is creditable and his recommendation should be taken seriously by all the stakeholders if the fight against GBV is to register more success.

Despite efforts to sensitise and educate the public about gender based violence and its dangers, the vice remains relatively widespread.

GBV goes against the tenets of women empowerment, which Rwanda has ably embraced more than any other country. The crime of GBV should be given the urgency it deserves and perpetrators handed sentences that reflect the gravity of the offence.

The Domestic Violence Unit should also be effectively empowered to deal with the issue decisively.

A stable family is the foundation of a strong nation. That is why every effort should be deployed to stump out GBV.

 

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