Rwanda President, Paul Kagame has warned against Gender Based Violence (GBV) saying that government will harshly punish the offenders.
“Violence against women is not in Rwandan culture. We have the responsibility to apply the law. It should be clear that Rwandans need to respect each other and their spouses,” said Kagame.
Speaking at an International Women’s Day celebration dinner, held at Kigali Serena Hotel on March 29, Kagame said realizing a GBV free country will result from concerted efforts from all concerned parties.
“This fight should go beyond numbers and statistics, to the personal responsibility we have for each other,” He added.
According to Rwanda National Police anti-GBV and child protection directorate, between July and August 2014 alone, at least 567 cases related to child abuse, sexual assault and gender based violence happened across the country. Women constitute majority of the victims.
The report also shows that at least 12 people were killed and over 60 seriously assaulted either by their relatives, neighbours or spouses.
Meanwhile, in the same period over 325 rape cases were recorded. Minister for gender and Family promotion, Oda Gasinzigwa, has continuously blamed most rape and defilement cases on gender inequality and male prejudice.
Meanwhile, Kagame advised Rwandan women leaders to advocate and uplift fellow women in fragile state and help them stand tall against such injustices.
“Any place that does not make gender equality a priority, is probably getting other important things wrong too,” said Kagame.
The Rwandan government has put different measures to protect women’s rights and protect them from violence. Among such is putting the legal marriage age at 21, enrolling women in leadership roles as well as campaigning for girls’ education at all levels.
The dinner was organized by Unity club, a Rwandan Non-government Organisation, led by Rwanda’s First Lady, Jeannette Kagame.
Unity club is comprised of spouses to former and current government officials highlighted their progress towards protecting women.