Musanze: Cost of DNA tests worries defiled teen mothers

When Vestine, (not real name) was 15, she was defiled by her employer in a home where she worked as a house help from Muhoza Sector in Musanze District.

Few days later, she missed her period - that’s when she knew she could have been impregnated by her boss and since then life has been harsh for Vestine, who was summarily dismissed from her work, the moment she brought up the allegations to the employer.

The young mother was left with one option; to petition courts of law to seek justice to ensure her abuser at least gets to support the child.

However, despite the judge taking up the case, a DNA test was ordered to establish the paternity of the baby.

However, the young mother says she has failed to afford the Rwf270,000 that is charged to carry out the DNA test and she has since given up on the case because this cost is too prohibitive for her.

“I could not get justice because I was not able to pay for DNA test, the culprit is free out there and he has never been held accountable for what he did to me and I now have to toil to raise my child alone,” she said.

Some other teen mothers who spoke to The New Times especially those who echoed the same sentiments over the affordability of the DNA test cost.

They raised the common concern that the Government should come up with measures to facilitate teen mothers and other vulnerable women to undergo DNA test whenever the test is needed by courts of law.

“It would be better if we would be allowed to use Mutuelle de Santé while paying for the DNA test as it is too expensive for many of us to pay privately,” one of the teen mothers from Musanze District suggested.

Speaking to The New Times, the vice mayor for social affairs in Musanze District, Marie Claire Uwamariya, said she understood the concerns by the young mothers assuring the district advocacy.

“It is true that DNA test is still costly to many of the citizens but as the district together with our partners we have committed to support every underage girl who will need DNA test as evidence in courts of law,” she assured.

Musanze District registered 728 defilement cases within the last 5 five years with 150 cases for the last 11 months of 2018.