“They flee after defiling young girls”. This was highlighted when the grassroots leaders were undergoing training about Gender Based Violence.
Both women and men said that this is attributed to the fact that they are characterized by the same cultural background which is synonymous to that of the Congolese, because in most cases, the thirteen (13) year olds get married off.
Bunani Faustin, is a 72-year-old man who was born at Nkombo island who had this to say, “Whenever a person fornicates with a girl, he boards a boat and go to DR Congo, eventually if there isn’t any one incriminating him he returns.”
In addition to this, most of them keep it a secret so as not to mention the culprit, where families resolve it amicably there by rendering to their marriage, but in the end, they divorce, due to hard life, and the girl remains fending for herself as well as for her child. A factor the parents pointed at is that when the grass root leadership tries to follow the matter, the families intervene, and victim refuses to mention the offender thus protecting him, as a result of having resolved it at the family level.
However, there are families which report the matter, but his friends may discourage the offended family by saying that if you accuse him and they imprison him what will you profit? If such case scenario emerges, the girl denies, and says that the one who fornicated with her came from DR Congo, thus not knowing him.
Nyiranzeyimana Beatrice is a 25 year old resident of Nkombo Island, had this to say, “ A 25 year old man fornicates with a fifteen (15) year old girl, when her parents realize that she is pregnant, they resort to amicably resolve the issue, for instance deciding to offer reparation of probably one hundred thousand francs (100,000Frw), keep quiet and they finally marry and live together for about two months, after about three months they divorce, because the man happens to have married so as not to get imprisoned just as a matter of pretense. After a short period of time the boy can disappear.”
Mbonigaba Jean de Dieu too is a resident of Nkombo Island, and he was born and raised their he said, “As a way of confusing, they give money to the girl’s parents totaling to about two hundred thousand francs (200,000Frw), and he requests them to implicate the pregnancy to the unknown person from DR Congo, where they receive the money and start saying that she was fornicated by a boy who had come from DR Congo.”
All these said that Nkombo should get a special attention with regard to training, thus internalizing Gender Based Violence and its consequences, lest knowing the laws that protect them and they requested that gender equality lesson should be included in their lessons, so that children can understand it when they are still young, in order to prevent them from adopting the culture they witnessed while they were growing up.
Kimonyo Augustin, is an Expert and Trainer affiliated to International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), who was instrumental in teaching Nkombo residents to understand about Gender Based Violence. He said, “The existential problem is enormous, in regard to girls who are fornicated and get impregnated not willingly, the cases are many, and yet the parents protect the authors of such a crime, thereby exacerbating the issue, whether parents or the authors of the crime both parties are accomplices to the crime.” He said that they were going to look into such matter for the sake of reducing its prevalence.
The Vice Mayor in charge of social welfare of Rusizi District, Dukuzumuremyi Anne Marie said that they didn’t know that people who impregnate teenage girls flee to neighboring countries, and she promised that they were going to investigate the relevant information where it happened, thereby trying to negotiate to the country where the offender fled to thus being repatriated and face the laws for the alleged crime committed. In addition to that she said that more emphasis was to be exerted on mobilization and further requested the parents not to hide the Gender Based Violence.
This workshop intends to enhance the capacity of Nkombo Sector community leaders on the holistic approach to prevent SGBV cases and promote the holistic care of Victims-Survivors in the Rusizi District prepared by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Training Facility on Prevention and Suppression of SGBV (ICGLR-RTF) in partnership with the Ministry of Gender and family promotion in Rwanda ( MIGEPROF ) and GIZ, funded by the European Union.