May 1, 2020

Domestic Violence up 38% During Coronavirus Lockdown

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ActionAid is urging Rwandan men not to consider themselves not concerned with home chores

Global anti-poverty group ActionAid has called on Rwandan men not to leave domestic chores to women and girls during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, as that is contributing to family breakdowns.

Through its local chapter ActionAid Rwanda, it says government data shows domestic violence increased significantly during the lockdown.

ActionAid’s intervention came hours before government announced extension of a partial lockdown of Rwanda to control spread of the coronavirus. The total lockdown was eased, but with strick conditions.

The health ministry released its daily update of the positive cases, and the numbers remained grim. 18 cases have confirmed in past 24hours, raising number of active cases to 139.

Those who have recovered and gone back home are 104, including 6 yesterday. There are no deaths in Rwanda so far.

As men and women stayed home together for nearly 2 months, a feat never before experienced at a national level, fighting became order of the day in many homes.

According to the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), domestic violence cases they received in 28 days before the lockdown and those received 28 days after the lockdown, it was found that domestic violence cases have decreased by 38% since the start of the lockdown.

The Country Director of ActionAid Rwanda Josephine Irene Uwamariya urged family members to reduce Women’s Unpaid Care Work burden through redistribution of household chores among family members, to prevent all forms of violence arising from unequal workload of Unpaid Care Work.

“it is a responsibility for every family member to do Unpaid Care Work because it is contributing to the wellbeing of the family and the society in general,” she said.

“When Unpaid Care Work is left to women and girls only, it limits women and girls to sufficiently engage in economic and leadership opportunities that leads to psychological, physical, sexual and property violence to women and girls due to economic dependency to their male partners. There are some men who help their wives to do Unpaid Care Work, and we take this occasion to applaud them.”

Victims of domestic violence have been told in vigorous national campaigns that they may report their cases to local authorities or call the following toll-free lines: RIB: 116/3512, National Police: 112, MIGEPROF: 2560, GMO: 5798.

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