Jul 07, 2011

Batwa: New Report Shows Women Are Target for Violence

A new report by Minority Rights Group highlights the shocking trend of targeted violence against Batwa women that face daily prejudice and marginalization as a result of their ethnicity.

Below is a report published by Minority Rights Group:

MRG’s partner organisations in Rwanda and Uganda selected violence against Batwa women as the theme for their research. Anecdotal evidence suggested that violence, both from inside and outside the Batwa community was a frequent problem for Batwa women.

The aim was to discover more about the prevalence of violence and its causes in order to suggest strategies for tackling the issue.

Rwanda: In the districts surveyed, the respondents mentioned that the main forms of violence perpetrated against Batwa women and girls in their neighbourhoods are physical violence, psychological violence and marginalisation of natural resources. Very few respondents maintained that Batwa women and girls are not victims of violence and the vast majority believes Batwa women experience more violence than other Rwandans.

The respondents in the research believe that extreme poverty is the main cause of violence against Batwa women. Other reasons mentioned include membership of a minority, bad historical antecedents shaping relations between Batwa and non-Batwa communities, lack of education and prejudices against the Batwa.

Read the full report on the Rwanda research project in English and French.

Uganda: In the three districts of the study, 100% of the individual Batwa women interviewed had experienced violence with 64% of them experiencing it on an on-going basis or within the past 12 months. 57% of them had experienced sexual abuse and 46% had experience marital rape.

Respondents reported that violence against Batwa women was perpetrated by husbands, non-Batwa community members and local leaders or officials of different levels. The widespread violence against Batwa women was largely attributed to alcoholism, and poverty. The research discovered the majority of victims of violence had asked for help from the local council, other local bodies or a member of their family. However, it also highlighted corruption amongst local officials which blocked Batwa women’s access to justice.

Read the full report on the Uganda research project in English.