KIGALI, RWANDA – This week, a Rwandan judge sentenced a man to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. IJM staff called Carol* and her mother right away to share news of the conviction – the longest ever in an IJM Rwanda case. The perpetrator was also ordered to pay damages to Carol, fined under both the civil and criminal cases.
"This is a huge win for Carol, for girls across Rwanda who have experienced sexual violence, and for IJM" explains IJM Rwanda Director Lane Mears. "In many cases of sexual abuse in Rwanda, even when the victim and other eyewitnesses testify to the abuse, we have struggled to get convictions without an admission of guilt from the perpetrator. In this case, the judge weighed the evidence and ruled fairly according to the the law."
IJM lawyers persistently advocated for a swift judgement in Carol's case. Less than four months after the abuse, Carol's perpetrator was tried, convicted and sentenced for his crime. She is now part of IJM's aftercare program, where she will continue to receive trauma-focused counseling.
IJM will also continue to help her family. Over the last couple of months, IJM staff met with Carol's mother and helped her to develop and implement a small business plan to sell crops in her community. In January, Carol will begin a vocational training program for sewing at a boarding school, where she will learn skills that will allow her to establish a secure future.