Rwanda has one of the most progressive pieces of legislation to do with Gender Based Violence. The Rwandan GBV Act is one of the most progressive legal instruments internationally, as it seeks to demystify and define forms of gender based violence that include; conjugal rape, indecency, harassment and rape.
The penalty for rape is a prison sentence of between 10 and 15 years, while conjugal rape carries a sentence of between six months and two years. In some countries the concept of ‘conjugal rape’ does not exist – wives suffer in silence.
As the world unites once again to celebrate 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, Rwanda has laid a legal foundation upon which to end this vice that does not only tear persons affected apart through trauma, but families and whole societies too.
The media is full of horrific stories of gender based violence, from the rape of toddlers to beheading of grown females by their male counterparts.
It is for this reason that the 16 Days of activism should be a time for all in our society to reflect on what can be done to achieve a violence free world.
One in which we do not live in constant fear of the defilement of the boy or girl child, one in which a wife is safe in her husbands loving arms; one in which perpetrators are quickly brought to book through very stern sentences.
A society that has a zero tolerance for any form of violence. That is the importance of the 16 days, from the 25th of November to the 10th December, when the world unites in abhorrence of all forms of Gender Based Violence.