Activists pin gender-based violence on cultural rigidity

Cultural rigidity remains an obstacle in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Cultural rigidity remains an obstacle in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Activists who met yesterday to find ways of engaging men in the fight against GBV and other vices also blamed behavioral inflexibility for hindering the struggle against GBV.

“For example a number of people still think that wife battering is a form of correction,” said Edouard Munyamaliza, the Executive Secretary of the Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (Rwamrec), a nonprofit organisation charged with fostering men’s role in the fight against GBV, during the launch of the report in Kigali yesterday.

The policy review meeting also aimed at improvising ways of including more men and boys in the fight against HIV/Aids, and promotion of Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) and Family issues. 

“This event aims at putting in place a male based approach in as far as achieving gender equality is concerned,” he added.

The policy report comes at the time when the government is launching the new National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV/Aids and GBV for the years 2013 to 2018, so the review is meant to ensure that policy analysis results are in line with government interest, Munyamaliza said.

“Evidence worldwide shows that engaging men and boys has proven crucial in the fight against GBV, and addressing of sexual reproductive health issues,” remarked Donna Kamashazi, who represented the United Nations Women Rwanda country representative at the event.

According to a study carried out by Rwamrec in May, 2013 GBV awareness in the country is high, standing at about 78 per cent.

The study carried out in 13 different districts, also indicates that 70.9 per cent of respondents agreed to have witnessed a case of GBV in the last 12 months.

The report adds that sexual abuse and battering emerged as the top two forms of GBV, garnering 58.6 per cent and 38.5 per cent, respectively.

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