The 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence (November 25-December10) came out of the global campaign for women’s human rights.
In June 1991, the Centre for Women Global leadership with participants of the first Global institute on Women, Violence and Human rights, a forum involving women from 20 countries called for a global campaign of 16 days of activism Against Gender Violence.
The campaign would highlight the link between women, Violence and human rights from 25 November to 10th December 1991.
The 16 days campaign world wide has therefore been used as an organizing strategy by organizations, groups and individuals around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:
During this 16-day campaign therefore, RNP takes an opportunity to highlight the nature and extent of GBV in Rwanda, calling upon all Individuals and stakeholders to collectively join effort in prevention and respond to Gender based Violence.
Gender Based Violence is a critical human rights, health and general development issue affecting different categories of people rich and poor, educated and uneducated, rural and urban and the young and the old.
Gender based violence however based on repotted cases to police is more targeted towards women and children. This is due to the unequal power gender relations between men and women and adults and the children.
Gender based violence is manifested in different forms including:
. Rape and defilement
. Physical abuse e.g among couples
. Verbal abuse
. Psychological abuse
. Homicide among families and extended families
. Denial to property rights
According to analysis of reported cases, most of the cases of Gender based violence crimes are committed not by strangers but by people in one way or another related to the victims.
In view of the above problems Rwanda National Police would like to inform the public to utilize the available services for victim response to GBV.
. A police toll free telephone for quick reporting of GBV crimes – (3512) accessible nationwide.
. Timely reporting to the nearest police station. Each Station has a GBV officer
. Field response to avoid further victim violation
. Access free medical tests and treatment in case of rape cases. There is a referral system in place for victims from police to Government hospitals.
. Information provision to other required services like counseling and legal support Orientation to courts of law after proper investigation
. Access information on GBV through media campaigns on Radio, TV, police magazine, posters.
. Access information on GBV through police community dialogue programs
. You may visit your nearest police station.
What else can be done to prevent and respond to GBV by the public?
. Speak out and give evidence of what you saw or heard about GBV crimes
. Support the victim by providing required assistance and information about appropriate available services.
. Parents keep care of the children and avoid putting them in risky situation
. Parents should openly discuss with children about sex and sexuality
. Each individual to respect other people’s rights without gender-based discrimination.
. Each individual to be a GBV activist using every available opportunity
. Have the zeal and make effort to be informed about different existing laws in relation to gender equality and children’s rights.
. Be neighbours and your family eye for security than a risk for insecurity or a non– concerned member of the community.
What can be done by stakeholders?
. Address GBV related issues in your planning and program implementation
. Strengthen networking and information sharing for GBV prevention and response.
. Develop organizational policies on GBV
. Build staff capacity in addressing GBV related issues
. Quicken the law review processes.
What can local leadership do?
. Sensitize community members on GBV and Legal rights
. Put in place appropriate community-based structures to address GBV related issues
. Support GBV victims through proper orientation to relevant legal and support services.
. Be role models in community service provision without gender-based discrimination or committing gender-related crimes in your families or to other community members.
. Set clear performance rates in preventing Gender Based Violence in the communities you lead.
With the above concerted effort we shall achieve our vision to have a society free of Gender based violence for security and sustainable development.
Gender Based Violence is a human rights issue not a private domestic matter as culturally as it is normally misconceived.