Local and security officials in Gisagara district were shocked when they were led to a house in which a man lay in pain as a result of beatings by his wife.
The case emerged from a chorus of reports recorded during a sensitisation tour in Mamba sector of Gisagara district by the Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB). The agency’s caravan has been travelling around Southern Province since last week as part of its regular outreach programs.
At a meeting with residents of Gakoma cell of Mamba sector, testimony after another urged the authorities to begin to take serious the issue of men said to be “dying in silence” as they were being battered by their wives.
Due to the shame of fearing to be laughed at by peers or sometimes unsure how they will be received when they report to security personnel, said those spoke at the meeting, the affected men couldn’t report their abuse.
To the surprise of officials at the meeting, it is women speakers who first raised the abuse of men by wives. With examples, residents said women in that area were drunkards who returned home late night to torment their husbands.
Domestic abuse suffered by men in Rwandan homes has been on the increase. The Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC) was created in 2006 by 9 men. Among its programs has been to provide sanctuary for men running away from their wives.
As government’s women emancipation drive has taken root deep in Rwanda’s villages, the once victims have turned the tables.
For the period July 2019 to June 2021, RIB data shows that 1,008 men filed complaints of battery by their wives. From 2016 to 2019, the National Institute of Statistics recorded 7,210 men being abused in their homes. It means more than 1,000 men for ever year.
But domestic violence still remains a women problem in the country. In the same period up to 2019, the statistics institute data has 48,809 women who filed abuse complaints with the authorities.
Between July 2019 to this past June, some 12,137 women filed abuse cases.
Still, the fact that men are slowly coming out to report abuse, suggests the problem is much bigger than the official figures indicate.
Back to the RIB meeting in Gakoma cell in Gisagara district, following the influence of women who were complaining about men being abused in their villages, a male resident Urayeneza Emmanuel said he had a friend who was nursing serious injuries at home.
It was narrated that the male victim was hit with a stone by his wife following a dispute. He had been treated at a local hospital, but was back home still having injuries.
Officials immediately visited the home where they confirmed the case. The accused wife was immediately arrested and is currently at Mamba RIB station.
RIB has dismissed accusations that its stations treat women victims with more leniency when they reported abuse, which scares men in similar situations.
Local tales have existed for quite sometime that tell of men who spent months or even years in jail after their wives files false complaints.
It seems as though the men have been frightened into submission, fearing if they did anything, the wife will emerge the winner instead.
Early last month a viral video in which a crying man pleads for mercy from his wife got the natin talking. Carrying a baby, the woman is seen landing blows and using anything around her to beat the husband. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)
She pulls his ears, kicks him and drags the helpless man. ‘Please let me ask for forgiveness,’ cries the husband in seeming agony, as the wife throws slaps repeatedly saying: ‘Haguruka rero dutahe’, loosely translated as ‘Home we go!’.
The man’s crime; he had apparently left home without the wife’s permission.