Ending GBV begins with you
Gender-Based Violence is a human rights, security and development issue that negatively impact on individuals, the community, national and international development. It ranks high among crimes and is directly linked to poverty and underdevelopment.
The Gender-Based Violence week that will run from October 10th -17th 2011 therefore aims at making a wakeup call for joint effort from partners and stakeholders in prevention
and response to GBV and creating a forum for community members to raise their voices on quality of service delivered
and proposed strategies. The use of mass media is to emphasize the need to reach all corners of the country.
The victims of GBV, women and men alike, remain silent as some female victims still believe that they are subordinate within their household and must behave within societal expectations. In many cases, they are convinced that they are to blame for the actions of the perpetrators. Male victims hardly report as they have to maintain their image as the dominant figures in the private and public. An issue that arises in the causes for young males and females
defilement is a lack of communication on reproductive and sexual health within the family and also these children are exploited due to their poor living conditions or other vulnerable situations like being orphans.
Child defilement usually happens between ages of adolescence of 14 to 18 years. During those ages, they are exploited by their adolescence through lies and material
gifts. These cases of child defilement occur in the perpetrators home or even their own house and a few cases in hotels and churches.
The consequences of GBV include serious negative health, physical and psychological effects as noted by the Rwanda National Policy on Fighting Gender Based Violence (May 2010).
Unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortion, sexually ransmitted diseases, risky and closely linked to the spread of HIV/AIDS, psychological trauma, family conflicts, death and physical disabilities. GBV is a constraint on peaceful relations in families and communities as a whole. It also threatens national security because it has been found that children who are neglected in the home usually turn to criminal activities.
Rwanda government commitment
The Government of Rwanda has demonstrated strong commitment to human rights and gender equality by being signatories on various international legal instruments
and a policy on fighting GBV has been developed by Ministry Of Gender and Family Promotion.
The Rwanda national Police established a gender desk in 2005 with a mission of building the capacity for police, stakeholders and community for prevention and response
to gender based Violence.
The Gender monitoring office in its capacity has the responsibilities among others of fighting gender based injustice and violence, examining and monitoring the
national programs and projects aimed at promoting gender equality and raising awareness for all institutions and the
population for respect of gender equality principles.
Other ministries and agencies involved in fighting GBV are Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, Ministry of Justice,
Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Service and Labor, Ministry of Local Government, Community
Development and Social Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Sport and Culture, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Defense, The Parliament, National Women’s Council, National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) and the National Commission
for Human Rights. UNIFEM has also been an instrumental institution in fighting GBV.
Not withstanding the challenges such as Gender stereotype attitudes, culture of silence on sexual related issues, limited awareness of legal services by both men and women, low economic status of women, limited resources (e.g forensics and DNA testing) among others, the Rwanda
government has several paths to tread in eliminating GBV.
It is on that basis that recommendations to review the existing laws for elimination of any gender biases within society and ensure fast and effective implementation
GBV laws which will reflect in how related cases are handled.
Other issues of importance in eliminating GBV are; improving the monitoring and coordination of gender based violence interventions, supporting research on GBV, funding of activities that lead to prevention and response to gender based crimes and involving Civil Society organizations in supporting mobilization for GBV prevention.
NGOs, local leadership, families and individuals should all partner with police in eliminating GBV.