Rwanda: Minister Rallies Communities on Teenage Pregnancies, GBV

16 October 2019

The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion has urged communities to actively participate in tackling domestic violence and defilement, which has led to the rampant teenage pregnancies.

Soline Nyirahabimana was speaking on Tuesday, during the celebration of the International Day of Rural Women in Gicumbi District, Northern Province.

The Minister said that there are many achievements that have been made in general, and for women in particular.

However, she said that there are still serious issues affecting the Rwandan society, including defilement that has led to the surge of teenage pregnancies, as well as domestic violence which sometimes culminates into married people killing their partner.

Figures from the Ministry of Health show that during this year alone, over 15,600 teenagers were impregnated between January and August (2019).

"Measures have been taken to address this issue either in terms of penal law enforcement, and continued sensitization but we need everyone on board if we are to get anywhere," she said.

Nyirahabimana said that parents should understand that ensuring the education of their children is their primary responsibility and must protect them against anything that may lead to their cutting short of their academic journey, like unwanted pregnancies.

"Moreover, parents should talk to their children about their reproductive health, by urging them to shun deceptive characters who to defile them," she observed.

When defilement is unfortunately committed, she said, parents should immediately report the case to the police, and Isange One Stop Centre for the victim to receive both treatment and justice.

The Minister said that domestic violence is another alarming issue.

"It is a shame to hear that a husband or a woman commits violence against their spouse to the extent that they take away their life that God bestowed them. It is unacceptable," she observed.

"Nothing good comes from committing violence against your partner," she said.

In case the couples in conflicts are unable to reconcile, they should seek support from judicial organs, instead of responding to problems by causing other problems.

In that regard, the Minister urged the population to make concerted efforts to instill gender equality in children while still at a tender age.

She said that a stable family is the one that has people who have strength, skills, welfare, freedom and hold good Rwandan values.

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