Under the theme “The Impact of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) on the mental health of the victim”, Kigali Global Shapers in collaboration with UN Women have organized a discussion in line with 16 Days of activism against GBV. The discussion took place at Westerwelle, Fair View Building in Kigali on the evening of December 9. According to Charlotte Bwiza, the Events and Logistics Lead at Kigali Global Shapers, they invited political leaders to come and inform the youth what they are doing in terms of fighting GBV and how victims who face mental health issues can get help, so that youth can know and share with their fellows. Among the panellists was Jane Abatoni, Executive Secretary of ARCT-Ruhuka, a local NGO. She said that she has encountered many scenarios where GBV impacted the mental health of the victims like back in the Genocide Against the Tutsi when women were raped as a weapon of war, declaring that it was dehumanising and has caused different issues to the victims. She said that today in the community, relatives and children, whether girls or boys, face GBV in their families which causes them different mental health issues that worsen when they are not addressed, adding that during the Covid-19 lockdowns, some girls as well as boys were sexually abused. She said that the victims of GBV start behaving differently, become reclusive, and can also abuse others all that affect their mental health. She urged the public not to hide GBV cases and to get victims counsellors, adding that many researches about GBV at community level are needed to figure out the root causes of the problem which can help in fighting the violence. Silas Ngayaboshya, Director General for Gender Promotion and Women Empowerment Directorate at the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) said that the ministry has initiated a policy against GBV which is currently under revision, adding that its specific objectives rely on prevention, response, monitoring and coordination and preserving evidences. He stressed on rehabilitation of GBV victims, declaring that it should be improved to respond to the potentials and aspirations of the victims so that they are respected and being favoured by the environment they belong to. Shafiga Murebwayire, Gender-Based Violence Crimes Division Manager at Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) said that there is a lot everyone can do in terms of preventing GBV, noting that people should create awareness starting from themselves, their neighbours, colleagues and then to the community at large. “Let’s try to prevent people from being victimised or stigmatized. It can start by family dialogues to protect siblings and raise awareness within the family and we can also use social media or calls to raise public awareness,” she said. Emma Carine Uwantege, the Program Specialist on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls at UN WOMEN declared that GBV is still there, adding that it’s everyone’s responsibility to deal with and report about it without camouflaging. “As we tackle Covid-19 today, we have also to tackle GBV and enforce different laws that are in place to handle GBV apprehensively; not just providing one way of responding. We have to continue the fight, enhance mindset change processes and use different approaches and mechanisms to ensure that GBV is addressed. I believe that together we can end GBV,” she said.