The State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Mathias Harebamungu, yesterday said that over 600 students were abused in schools across the country, in the last two years.
Harebamungu, who was appearing on a talk show aired live on public television and radio, said that the students were sexually, psychologically and physically harassed by teachers, parents, motorcyclists and neighbours of the victims’ families.
“According to the survey, we found out that over 600 students in secondary and primary faced varied forms of abuse. The abuse included sexual, physical and psychological of both boys and girls,” Harebamungu noted.
The survey was carried out in June.
One of the despicable sexual violence acts was recorded in Rwamagana District where the coach of a football team at Le Pigeonnier Groupe Scolaire, a boys’ school, sodomised seven boys.
Some of the defilement cases committed by teachers, according to Harebamungu, were recorded in Gatsibo, Nyaruguru and Gicumbi districts.
Supt. Morris Muligo, the Director of the Kigali Forensic Laboratory, said that though cases of gender violence are dropping, they still need a lot of attention.
Muligo noted that about 1,817 cases of defilement were recorded last year, increasing by 15.7 percent compared to the previous year.
Among those that committed these offences, Muligo said, 667 were neighbours of the victims’ families, who were also arrested.
“Some GBV cases are not reported, and people should know that keeping silent is a crime in itself,” Muligo noted, adding that a sentence goes up to five years.
Over 1, 600 girls and women above 18 years were raped between 2006 and 2009 and 100 women killed by their husbands in the same period, Muligo added.
Dr. Ribakare Muhayimundu urged all victims of sexual abuse to immediately report the matter to authorities, for treatment as well as HIV/AIDS tests.
HIV drugs can prevent the virus if they are taken within 24 hours after getting infected.
Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, the Minister of Education appealed to all Rwandans, especially parents to be responsible and protect their children against any form of violence.
“We need citizens that are dignified, strive to survive on their own without depending on others and fight for the well being of their country. This starts by protecting our children from any form of violence,” Habumuremyi said.