The Things a Badge Lets You Get Away With

It is alarming the kinds of things that people in authority, especially police officers and security forces, can get away with in Rwanda. Having a badge is power, and police officers in Rwanda are using this power to abuse women-because they can. The Country Report on Human Rights for 2007 in Rwanda records these crimes against women; “In police stations, the government did not feed detainees awaiting hearings or transfers. Police regularly told victims of violence and rape, especially women, that if they did not provide food to their attacker, they would release him.” Police officers are requiring women to care for their attacker or rapist by coming down to the station on a regular basis to feed them. Then the policemen harrass, assault, and rape the victims repeatedly and regularly as they visit the station. So in order to keep your rapist off the street, as a woman in Rwanda, you have to subject yourself to caring for your attacker, along with repeated harassment and more rape at the hand of those appointed to uphold the law and protect you, the police. The crimes against women that a badge lets you get away with in Rwanda are atrocious. Where can these women turn when the entire police force is so corrupt and horrible that there is no one to protect them or stand up for them?

—by LJL

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