Rwandan Priest Calls for Sharing Stories of Women Scarred by 1994 Genocide

Rwandan women's stories of resilience after 1994 genocide must be shared to inspire reconciliation and prevent future atrocities, says Jesuit priest Marcel Uwineza.

Olalekan Adigun
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Rwandan Priest Calls for Sharing Stories of Women Scarred  by 1994 Genocide

Rwandan Priest Calls for Sharing Stories of Women Scarred by 1994 Genocide

As Rwanda marks the 30th anniversary of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis, Rwandan Jesuit priest Marcel Uwineza is calling for the stories of women deeply affected by sexual assault, disease, and exile during the 100-day massacre to be shared. The genocide, which began on April 7, 1994, claimed the lives of an estimated 800,000 people.

Many women in Rwanda have endured long years of suffering, including raising children conceived through rape, living with HIV, and carrying physical scars from beatings. Some have remained silent about their horrifying experiences due to fear of reprisal, rejection, or being asked to testify publicly. "It is important to tell the stories of resilience of these women, as they have turned their tests into testimonies and their messes into messages," Uwineza stressed.

Why this matters: Sharing the often overlooked experiences of women survivors is vital for a more comprehensive understanding of the genocide's impact. Their stories of resilience and healing can inspire reconciliation and prevent future atrocities.

Uwineza also highlighted the need for a prophetic Church in Rwanda that acknowledges its mistakes and recognizes Christian heroes who tried to save lives during the genocide. He called for a constructive history that unites Rwandans and includes the voices of women in the dialogue for a better future.

The Rwandan government, led by President Paul Kagame, has pursued justice, promoted unity and reconciliation, and combated the ongoing ideology of ethnic hatred, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uwineza emphasized that the international community must work collectively to bring the perpetrators of the genocide to justice and support Rwanda's commitment to upholding the memory of the victims. "It is our collective responsibility to ensure that 'Never Again' becomes a reality," he said.

Key Takeaways

  • Rwanda marks 30 years since 1994 genocide that killed 800,000 Tutsis.
  • Women survivors endured rape, HIV, and scars; their stories need sharing.
  • Rwandan Jesuit priest calls for acknowledging Church's mistakes and heroes.
  • Rwanda's government pursues justice, unity, and combats ethnic hatred.
  • International community must support Rwanda's commitment to victims' memory.