Schools closure has exposed children at high risk of various forms of violence and abuse with defilement cases expected to double this year.
Statistics from Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) show that between January and June, 2,157 defilement cases have been filed with many being impregnated by the defilers.
The RIB figures indicate that more than 11 girls on average were being defiled daily in the country for the past six months.
In 2019, the total number of defilement cases stood at 3,623, health activists and gender activists predict that the cases will double those of last year if schools remain closed until next year as anticipated by the government.
Last week, Grace Kamariza (not her real name), a senior two student living at Gahanga sector, in Kicukiro District told Rwanda Today that she was defiled by a relative she has been living with who is now on the run after he was caught red-handed by neighbours.
“The man who impregnated me is a relative and I used to suspect his wrong actions but because I used to spend little time at home and go back to school in boarding, it was difficult to get me,” says Kamariza.
“When we went back home after closing schools every time I was with him together with my little five-year-old brother. It became difficult to dodge his conversations at home since there was no one else to talk to because our parents could wake up going to work and come back late in the evening,” she said.
“One day, while my little brother was asleep, he came to my room and I remember waking up when he is already on top of me and I tried to scream but I did not get help,” she said adding, “That very day I did not tell my parents about what had happened but they came to know two weeks after finding that I was pregnant and the predator had run away,”
“I wish I had been going to school because if I had been occupied with the school, this would have not happened,”
Kamariza told Rwanda Today. “I feel bad because my dream has failed now just because of my pregnancy.”
Rwanda Today has learnt that the worrying trend has been linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, with health and human rights activists’ expressing fear that the figures will double this year.