The gazetting of the Gender Based Violence bill into law in two weeks time should see us give a thumbs up to gender activists, politicians and many others who have been part of the relentless campaign for its enactment.
This law which seeks to prevent and punish GBV is long overdue and will go a long way in stemming this vice. Rwanda’s GBV is a progressive piece of legislation unequalled in any part of the world.
Violence comes in many forms; emotional, physical or economic you name it. The bottom line is that it is wrong and should be contained.
Rwanda is a country which endured the worst form of violence, a Genocide that claimed the lives of over a million Tutsi’s. The devastating effect of that violence is still firmly etched in our memories.
The violence did not just come in the form of killings, women were raped, some infected with Sexually Transmitted Diseases, all sorts of horrors took place that many are still struggling to come to terms with today. There is nothing more demeaning to a person or any society than violence, notwithstanding the trauma that comes with it.
The GBV Act is a symbol of closure from that past, it is about giving back the dignity that comes with a violence-free society. All government institutions have in the past months carried out campaigns against GBV, the national police should especially be commended for a job well done.
Cabinet Affairs Minister Charles Murigande, revealed to The New Times yesterday that in two weeks time the bill would be assented into law.
That the current leadership has adopted a zero tolerance for violence, taking even more radical measures in the definition of such violence and the attended punitive action is commendable.
Consequently, Rwanda is one of the few countries in the world that for instance defines various forms of rape, marital rape included, it also cites GBV as a reasonable ground for divorce.
It also outlaws violence against children, both the girl and boy child. Kudos go to our politicians’ wisdom in debating and enacting a law that simply says no to all forms of violence.