Undergraduate Journal of Global Citizenship


Sexual violence (SV) often causes survivors to experience devastating health, social and economic impacts. Framed within Galtung’s structural violence theory, Crenshaw’s intersectionality theory, and Giddens structuration theory, this paper explores the use of legal initiatives established by the Rwandan government to address SV in the country—both immediately after the Rwandan genocide and in the modern day. Part one of this paper draws from several scholars as well as the Human Rights Watch reports to explore the lived realities of survivors and their pursuit for justice following the genocide. Part two explores Isange One Stop Center, a multi-sectoral gender based violence clinic. It considers Isange as an avenue towards legal justice for SV survivors, the lack of broader resources available for survivors, and the overarching tensions between policy and cultural norms. Part three indicates that though both gacaca and Isange provide a potential path to legal justice for SV survivors, they also simultaneously fail to account for the lived realities of these survivors, and therefore fall short of their potentials. Ultimately, this paper demonstrates the ways in which the pathology of SV is deeply entrenched in intersectional structural violence. Given this, it argues the necessity for the Rwandan Government’s political will to be examined, wider sensitization campaigns, stronger coordination with non-profits working with SV, and further resource investment towards SV resources. Ultimately, grounded in the theory of structuration, it advances a transformed approach to SV at all levels of society in order to revolutionize the SV pathology.



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