In her speech at the launch of National Joint Campaign on ending Child Sexual Abuse, Mrs Kagame said that several campaigns have been organized to eradicate child abuse but all seamed in vain. Some of the past campaigns launched in Rwanda include: Treating every child as your own, guardian angels, be your neighbor’s keeper, and protest against adult child abusers among others.
“When you look at all that has been done, you wonder the root cause of why the crime of child abuse isn’t eliminated completely. You even start thinking how adverse humans are when you see what has happens when a parent abuses a child,” she said.
Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) figures show that at least 10, 456 children were sexually abused in the past three years, most of them in age bracket of 15, 17 and below 10 with 98% of them being girls and only 2% boys.
Most of these were abused by their parents, family members, housemaid, and worst of all the boy or girlfriends within their age brackets. The First Lady asked what should be done, for if this trend continues in Rwanda and the world, yet there are laws in place.
“It is very painful to see that research shows 20.5% of children below 11 years are abused. Even boys are now abused. I don’t know how we can term this but it’s not right and it is a disgrace,” Mrs Kagame said.
Considering the psychological effects that come with child abuse, Mrs Kagame asked that since gender equality has enabled Rwanda to progress in many ways, parents should now come out and play their role in child protection, starting with men.
Mrs Kagame said: “I specifically call on you (men) and trust that you will be able to uproot this problem completely."
To women parents, teachers especially, Mrs Kagame said that they should renew their commitment to watching out for every child, and befriend the child more so as to encourage openness to speak out of their experiences.
To stakeholders and development partners, Mrs Kagame called for aggressive and innovative measures in making sure child abuse crimes are reported and timely prosecuted.
To girl children, the First Lady asked them to be mindful of being lured by men and avoid any temptations which can hurt their future for good, but also report the abuse incidences immediately.