In December 2017, Josephine Karungi, a renowned TV host, invited me to share my story as a domestic violence survivor on her show “Perspectives with Josephine Karungi.” To say I was scared beyond my wits would be an understatement, and yet I still gladly wore my orange dress and boldly roared.
In 2018, Madagascar is said to be one of the poorest countries in the world. Antananarivo is said to be the third dirtiest capital. Some diseases like the plague persist in the country, even in 2017. Moreover, more than 35% of adult Malagasy people are still illiterate. One can witness corruption on every level. Every morning, a new political scandal can be read through newspapers’ headlines.
Photo: Mohamad Al-Arief/ The World Bank
For this first staging of the competition in Madagascar, young people were asked to share their vision for Madagascar, which is poor but endowed with abundant resources and potential, “Madagascar – land of a thousand smiles and a thousand sorrows.” Over 230 young people aged 18-28 submitted an entry to the competition. Thank you for your enthusiastic response!
It all began with young girls, later, to be women grew up with no, or little rights, no voice and no choice, even to choose who to marry. On the other hand, men and boys were considered born with divine supremacy over women. Only men could think and act right, and they enjoyed total influence over the women in their households and sometimes outside them. A man’s power over women was absolute, omnipresent and unquestionable and our patriarchal society trained women to accept and live with it. Otherwise it was a taboo.
Growing up in the slums of Kawangware, gender-based violence (GBV) was no new term.
My earliest recollection of GBV is of my father, who was a drunkard shirker who jumped on any prospect to physically hit my mother. There had to be a reason to justify her swelling black eye.
It has now been more than five months since the last case of female murders was reported in Entebbe.
Between July and September 2017, 23 women were brutally attacked, battered, raped and murdered by strangulation. Wooden sticks were found inserted in their private parts, each left for dead in the cold town near Lake Victoria, and with them - a wake of fear among women across the country. By the 17th murder, former Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura, broke the silence by blaming the murders on jilted lovers, arresting 44 murder suspects and charging 22 in courts of law.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is still a widespread problem in Rwanda, with women remaining the primary people affected. However, the country is known to be a pace setter in the fight against this epidemic. Innovative national strategies and policies have been initiated by the government to eliminate GBVand promote gender equality at all levels.
Gender-based violence (GBV) has largely been understood as the act of violence against women. Hence society forgets that men also suffer the same way that women do, or even worse.
It wasn’t until I began to share my own story of survival that I realized how vulnerable men were to GBV. Two years ago, I was raped and I conceived a child as a result. I was 19-years-old at the time, but since the incident, I have written and spoken extensively about the aftermath of my rape. I cannot say that I don't think about my rape on a regular basis, instead it has just become a part of my primordial goo that courses through my veins and makes me who I am.
The communities of Kibaale East, Kamwenge, where I work and stay, lack informal and formal support structures that help girls, survivors and young mothers to cope with gender-based violence (GBV).