There is nothing as devastating as a marriage or relationship that once seemed blissful, but turns into doom. Take an example of Ann who regrets the day she exchanged vows with her now worst enemy. Her marriage has left her with both physical and psychological wounds, and scars. Anne recalls getting married to the love of her life who was a motorcyclist, paid peanuts but there was joy and peace at home, until he lost his job, a thing that left him stressed that he resorted to taking alcohol for solace. She narrates that her husband joined cliques with idle men that he got wasted and lost all the respect for his wife. For example, he started yelling, throwing objects at her and worst of all, battering her in front of her children. “My marriage was full of insults, tears, fights, rape, and lack of dignity; however, I couldn’t keep silent anymore for fear that my husband would kill me. I reached out to my pastors who decided to counsel us. Although he didn’t stop drinking, and comes back home late, at least he doesn’t beat me anymore,” she states. Just like Anne, many women and girls are victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV), and although some get a chance to speak out, express themselves and seek help, others are encountering the damages of GBV silently, and others at worst, lose their lives. Take an example of Beatrice Muhawenimana, who, in April 2018, was killed by her husband Jean Damascene Ntezimana with whom they had six children, yet she was also expecting a seventh child as she was seven months pregnant. In order to hide the evidence, Ntezimana, who was a resident of Ramagana, cut the body of his wife into pieces with a knife, peeled off her skin tissue from bones, packed the bones into a sack and dumped it on the banks of Lake Mugesera and threw out the other body parts in a toilet. He was found guilty and he is serving a life sentence. Claudine Munyanvura hit and killed her husband, identified as Mutsindashyaka, in 2012 for fear that her husband would kill her first as the two had grown distant and were never on the same page about everything. Munyanvura admitted that she murdered him and dumped the body in a pit latrine. Although GBV remains a prevalent problem in the country, the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) states that the Government has set a pace in the fight against GBV including criminalising it in 2008 and an anti-GBV policy was introduced in 2011. According to MIGEPROF, women remain the primary victims. As claimed by the Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey report published by the National Institute of Statistics (2019 to 2020), 37 per cent of women and girls who are aged between 15 and 49, had experienced physical, sexual, or psychological violence. The consequent proportions among men are 30 per cent. The same report indicated that 46 per cent of ever-married women and 18 per cent of ever-married men have experienced spousal, physical, sexual, or emotional violence. Although not as widespread, violence against men exists in Rwanda, and male victims should not be ignored. Come Ndemezo, an activist for gender equality and GBV prevention states that GBV varies in different forms, such as sexual, physical, psychological and economic violence. Some of the direct effects of GBV may range from an individual to household levels, and eventually affects the whole community and country’s development. He highlights some of the effects to be noticed and some of these include, lack of confidence and self-esteem, as the GBV victim may fear expressing their views, or engage with others. ‘They also feel that they have lost their dignity and value.’ Ndemezo stresses that trauma and other psychological problems can also result from GBV, which is connected with poor long-term mental health like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. “Usually, people in this state, have a lot of issues on their mind, are quarrelsome, unhappy, and may not be able to sleep enough or sleep at all. They even shun seeking counseling, as they mistake it for only patients with serious mental health illnesses,” he says. Ndemezo also explains that suicidal attitudes due to unending violence and loss of dignity push couples to lose patience of each other, as issues worsen, they choose suicide if they don’t get help as soon as possible. He adds that GBV results from inability to plan for the future, because if solutions are not sought, dreams are posed or aborted. “Poverty is also likely to kick in if couples don’t discuss progress or have time to work and contribute to house developments or care for their children. Decision making becomes hard as well, especially if women are the victims, they let their husbands decide about selling properties, among other choices and judgments,” Ndemezo emphasizes. He adds that a number of women and girls get infected with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and others, due to rape and inability to insist on condom usage. For him, it’s possible for partners to lose their lives and injure their body parts due to physical violence where they can trigger an assault on the other. GBV further notes that at the household level, some effects would be manifested, for instance, divorce and separation that affect issues such as, raising children, since they lose out on provision, care, grooming, a chance to education, and parental guidance. If parents lack enough means to feed their children, they may be malnourished due to deficiency of a balanced diet, Ndemezo adds. According to the World Health Organization-WHO, violence against women is preventable. The health sector has an important role to play to provide comprehensive health care to women subjected to violence, and as an entry point for referring women to other support services they may need. WHO states that globally, as many as 38 per cent of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. In addition to intimate partner violence, globally, six per cent of women report having been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner, although data for non-partner sexual violence are more limited. Intimate partner and sexual violence are mostly perpetrated by men against women.