If the damning report, on Gender Based Violence, compiled by the Rwanda National Police, is an indication of the work still to be done in eradicating this vice from our society, then there might still be mountains to climb.
As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign celebrations, Rwandan legislators were this week exposed to this nerve-jangling report.
This is against the background of our earlier celebrations after the last legislative elections, of the highest number of women in Parliament in the world at 56.25 percent.
This figure for many meant a transformation of gender relations in our society, based on equality and equity. Total women’s emancipation!
That bubble was this week burst when the national police announced that gender based violence remains a major obstacle to the attainment of gender equality, with men especially still beating their partners or wives to a pulp, without fear of reprisals.
The alarming figures from the report include those of femicide in the past three years, at 259. Meaning that we have 259 women who died at the hands of their loved ones in this period.
The report goes further to detail other really frightening statistics, which include 2000 cases of rape and almost 10,000 cases of defilement of children below the age of 18.
While compared to other countries, where women are raped by the minute, these figures are child’s play; for Rwanda’s zero tolerance to gender based violence they are serious.
Rwanda police deserve to be honoured for coming out in public, and telling the truth on the situation pertaining to Gender Based Violence, and the challenges they are faced with.
The police even go further to self critique by telling us that in some areas, those women who have been abused at home, fail to get support in some police stations, because of the patriarchal prejudices, still inherent in these. It is a first that a police force comes out this way.
Consequently, there is work to be done. By confronting these damning statistics head on, it means no stone will be left unturned until our society is totally violence free. Women will fully enjoy the fruits of their struggle towards total emancipation in a violence free society.