The ongoing Police Month activities entered the second week on Monday with focus on raising awareness against Gender Based Violence and teenage pregnancy.
Officials said GBV cases are still relatively high, and the awareness comes to enlighten local leaders and the public in general on the prevalence of the vice to ensure the responsiveness of all sections in addressing to the problem.
The first day of the campaign focused on training grassroots leaders on responding to sexual and gender based violence, and teenage pregnancy.
While speaking in Burera District, Commissioner of Police (CP) Bruce Munyambo, the Commissioner for Community Policing, told a gathering of local government and community leaders that GBV is detrimental to development of societies.
He also castigated the backwardness of traditional practices like early marriage and male chauvinism, which affect development.
“First of all, society needs to develop to understand the disadvantages of these actions. We need community-based campaigns to empower all sections of the public about these issues through trainings, social gatherings, churches, education – all these stakeholders should be fully involved in this. Police alone cannot do it,” Munyambo told the gathering in Burera district.
He explained numerous health consequences of domestic violence particularly against women and children. “Some are psychological or emotional in nature and may sometimes result in ill-health,” he underscored.
Speaking in Karongi District, Commissioner of Police John Bosco Kabera, the Rwanda National Police spokesperson reiterated the dangers of GBV and violence against children.
Kabera urged leaders to join efforts with law enforcers to identify troubled families through early detection of conflicts so as to reconcile them before they turn violent.
“We call for your ownership and partnership in raising awareness in your communities to discourage these practices – these are issues we need to educate the communities about, so that they refrain from taking matters in their own hands, and allow the rule of law deal with others,” he said.
In the Southern Province, Commissioner of Police Dr. Daniel Nyamwasa told residents of Gisagara District that there are well established laws against violence in general and others specific to protection of women and children.
He explained that leaders have to come-out openly to denounce the lawlessness and empower the communities with relevant knowledge and understanding on the scourge and their rights.
During the training, there was consensus that there is an urgent need to carry out civic education in order to challenge outdated cultural practices of sexual and gender-based violence in Rwanda.