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"I believe the movement has motivated women to come out of their shell to talk about their experiences", says Ninette Umurerwa, Haguruka NGO in Rwanda.
"I believe the movement has motivated women to come out of their shell to talk about their experiences", says Ninette Umurerwa, Haguruka NGO in Rwanda.

What happens with the #metoo-movement in Rwanda?

Three months ago, the hashtag metoo became viral in social media. The movement has taken different turns around the world since then. Ninette Umurerwa tells us what impact #metoo has had in Rwanda, and how the work against sexual abuses should continue. 

How big has #metoo been in your country? Is it the talk of the town?

– The #metoo movement is relatively new in Rwanda and is only known by those who have access to social media. Recently many people have mentioned perpetrators on social media. However, lack of evidence and negative perceptions from the public is still the main challenge.  I think an awareness campaign on gender based violence and sexual assaults would help.

What kind of women have engaged?

– Experienced feminists I would say, and mostly those who are on social media.

Is it dangerous to support #metoo in your country?

– It’s not dangerous. However, we still have a long way to go to overcome challenges related to supporting this movement. For example, patriarchal norms, negative perception, and understanding towards rape.

Has #metoo been important for certain women in your country?

– I believe the movement has motivated women to come out of their shell to talk about their experiences. However, these women are still anonymous which speaks to issues pertaining to the investigation process.

Has #metoo been important for women´s movement in your country?

– Yes. However, given that the #metoo movement is still known at a very low level it would be hard to judge the exact level of its importance to women. 

Has politicians and authorities responded?

– There are no specific actions that came out from #metoo campaign, but Rwandan police already initiated anonymous toll-free numbers for people to report cases of gender based violence. 

Updated in: 2018-01-16