In Rwanda...

The US Department of State reports that “the law does not specifically prohibit domestic violence, and domestic violence against women, including wife beating, is common. Cases normally are handled within the context of the extended family” (US Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2006).

In Rwanda, “nearly one third of women (31 percent) have experienced physical violence since age 15, and 19 percent experienced it in the 12 months preceding the survey. This means that 61 percent of Rwandan women who have ever suffered violence have experienced it recently” (Rwanda: Demographic and Health Survey 2005, 2006).

According to González-Brenes, “71 percent of women who have been beaten by their husband believe that he is justified in doing so” (Domestic Violence and Household Decision-making: Evidence from East Africa, 2004).

According to the UNFPA, “of a sample of Rwandan women surveyed in 1999, 39 percent (between 250,000 and 500,000) reported being raped during the 1994 genocide, and 72 percent said they knew someone who had been raped” (Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in War and Its Aftermath: Realities, Responses, and Required Resources, 2006).

Overall, “47 percent of the time, the perpetrator of the acts of violence is the husband/partner only. This proportion is 80 percent for married women; for 76 percent of divorced or separated women, it is the previous husband/partner. Over one-third of women (34 percent) reported that the acts of violence were committed by someone other than the husband/partner. Finally, 8 percent of women reported that the acts were perpetrated by the husband/partner and others. Altogether, the husband/partner is the perpetrator of the violence 66 percent of the time” (Rwanda: Demographic and Health Survey 2005, 2006).

According to Human Rights Watch, "The Rwandan government report estimates that one-fifth of Rwandan women are victims of domestic violence at the hands of their male partners. One Rwandan proverb states that a woman who is not yet battered is not a real woman" (Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath, 1996).

Studies also find that “The frequency of recent spousal violence is highest among divorced or separated women, 67 percent of whom had experienced acts of spousal violence at least three times in the past year. By age, the frequency of spousal violence is highest among young women age 20 to 29: 41 percent at least three times, compared with 34 percent for women age 40 to 49. Fifty percent of women in rural areas experienced spousal violence at least three times in the past year, compared with 36 percent in urban areas” (Rwanda: Demographic and Health Survey 2005, 2006).

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