For the World Bank’s partner governments, investing in roads and other infrastructure development is critical to driving growth and reducing poverty. At the same time, adverse social impacts can occur if social risks are not properly assessed, mitigated and managed. In particular, projects that involve large labor influxes—such as road construction projects in rural areas—can contribute to an increased risk of gender-based violence in the local community, including sexual exploitation and abuse of women and adolescent girls.
gender based violence
Do good intentions matter if they end up contributing to harm?
In 15 years of working in international development, I have asked myself this question many times, and the answer is always complicated. I learned working on the Uganda Development Responses to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP) that even the most straightforward interventions – building a school, for example – can contribute to unintended consequences if they are not well thought-through. As Dr. Robert Limlim, DRDIP’s director, put it: “You build a school and it does not cause harm, but this school is built under social contradictions that impede equal access to education for boys and girls. If we want to transform social dynamics, doing good is not enough, we need to systematically address Gender Based Violence (GBV) in development responses to forced displacement.”
I hated the question, “Who is circumcised in this class? This question was often asked by my literature teacher when we were reading, “The River Between” by professor Ngugi wa Thiong'o. One of the characters, Muthoni, dies after being circumcised.
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.
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.