Before she joined Speak out Project training which aims at fighting all forms of violence, the 13 years was never taught about must-know knowledge as a girl at home.
Funded by UKaid, the project is supporting girls in safe spaces and school clubs in order to prevent Gender Based Violence(GBV) and addressing Sexual Reproductive Health and Right ( SRHR).
Angelique lives in Busasamana Sector, Nyanza District. She is thirteen years old and she is in primary six. She lives with her mother who is a farmer and her elder sister. Her father left home, but he visits them once in a while. Angelique is the second born in the family.
Before joining safe spaces of Speak Out Project, Angelique was unaware of rape. She used to hear people talking about it, but they could not call it rape, instead they used to say that someone was violated.
“In the safe space we call issues their real names. That is when I understood what rape is, thanks to mentor’s explanations. I then realized that changing names of things makes them loose their gravity. The club facilitator also explained to us what we can do when we are raped. I now understand the referral pathways because of Speak Out Project Training sessions,” Angelique said.
“My mother told me about menstruation periods. She told me that when I see blood from my womb, I would know that those are menstruation periods. She also advised me that when I get menstrual periods at school I should reach out to my teacher for help. However, I have not yet had my menstruation periods, but I am very confident that when I get them, I will not be ashamed of picking sanitary pads from the girls’ room,” Angelique added.
Angelique further said that in the safe spaces, girls share discussions on the signs of menstruation periods which include; stomach-ache, headache, which makes them be well prepared for it. In the safe space, they undergo plenty of trainings which uplift their confidence, and this is going to reduce school dropouts.
Through Speak Out, Angelique learned four forms of Gender Based Violence that include economical, sexual, emotional and physical violence. She also learnt about where to report about GBV cases when needed.
“I was taught that even teachers can support in reporting GBV cases. Other reporting channels include the National police, Rwanda Investigation Bureau, mentors, Isange One Stop center, national women council and other local leaders” Angelique added.Angelique disclosed that her school club facilitator is her friend and her role model. She confided that she tells the club facilitator about her secrets, then the facilitator advises her on different issues.
“My advice is that there should be capacity building
for men and boys on GBV and SRHR since they are largely the perpetrators of
GBV. Men and boys should be encouraged to be active actors in GBV prevention
and response,” Angelique suggested, adding that awareness raising for parents
through trainings and strong punishments for GBV perpetrators can minimize the
rate of GBV cases in homes.