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The study on attitude and perceptions on gender based violence towards men and boys in the districts of Kicukiro and Huye was conducted as an exploratory action research commissioned by the Rwanda Men Resource Center (RWAMREC), with a view to asses the extent of Sexual and Gender based violence against men and boys in the mentioned districts and to know the characteristics of SGBV against men and boys.

The methodological approach used to achieve the above mentioned purpose of the study included review of existing literature and consultations with community members, including adult males and females and teens males and females as well. Consultations were conducted through focus group discussion with the mentioned categories of resource persons. Interviews with key informants were also conducted at the level of the selected sectors of Kigarama in Kicukiro District and Mukura in Huye District.

Key findings were categorized under different aspects as unpacked below.

  • General perceptions of GBV by consulted community members : it was found that there is very limited awareness among community members on what gender based violence means, its different forms (especially physical, psychological and economic) and how it differs from other forms of violence. Additionally, there is a misunderstanding that the GBV law is defending women’s rights only ignoring that it is at the same time defending men’s rights as well.

  • Perceptions of community members on GBV issues against men and boys : the different resource persons highlighted that men are also victims of GBV even though there was recognition that women remain majority among the victims.

  • Community attitudes on GBV against men and boys : although men and boys were found to be also victims of GBV but community members do not tolerate GBV against them. They would rather tolerate GBV as subjected to women but not to men. The explanation behind this stand was that are the heads of families and therefore GBV would attack the leadership of families which is unbearable.

  • Identified particular GBV issues pertaining to men and boys : men and boys were found to be victims of the different forms of GBV including physical, sexual, economic and psychological violence. However, it was found that men and boys, especially boys between the age bracket of 13-17 years were more victims of physical violence compared to their female counterparts. In addition to physical violence, men were found to be victims of both economic violence and psychological violence.

  • Barriers encountered by men and boys in disclosing and reporting abuse perpetrated against them : different factors were found to be contributing to the limited reporting among men and boys of their GBV cases but the most influential were : socio-cultural barriers dictating men to suffer in silence if they want to keep their manhood, poverty, fear of stigma and the need to keep the family together, limited knowledge on evidence for psychological and economic forms of GBV, limited functioning and limited trust in existing GBV structures and misinterpretation of GBV law.

  • Structural and implementation gaps in government efforts to effectively involve men and boys in the promotion of gender equality and fight against GBV : a sizable number of structures addressing GBV, as efforts made by Government of Rwanda were identified. However, the limited coordination and capacity to handle GBV cases among the structures themselves and the lack of targeting men and boys as victims are the major gaps leading to the limited participation of men and boys in the promotion gender equality and fight against GBV.

Based on the above the following were found to be the key challenges hampering promotion of gender equality in general and men and boys’ involvement in particular : 1) Misinterpretation of the concept of gender equality ; 2) Limited knowledge about the GBV Law ; 3) Limited government attention to men as beneficiaries and allies for gender equality ; 4) Limited trust by men in structures addressing GBV ; 5) Effects of negative masculinity around men as custodians of power over women.

December 2019

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