Sexual Harassment In Sports, The Silent Vice In Rwanda

By Glory Iribagiza

As more women join different sports disciplines, questions are being raised about how protected they are from sexual harassment.

And, the fact that they join at a young age, they are more vulnerable to scrupulous men who in most cases are in charge of them.

The New Times approached various personalities in sports and it was evident that it was on vice kept on the hush.

One of the popular sport for women in Rwanda is volleyball. Adalbert Mfashimana, the Secretary-General of Rwanda Volleyball Association, FRVB told The New Times that he has not heard of such issues in their federation.

rwanda female football

However, he added, that does not mean the sport is clean.

“No one has reported a case so far, but it doesn’t mean that there are no cases,” Mfashimana said.

“We think that if the case was to happen, it would be caused by power abuse. A coach can abuse a player, a team captain can abuse a player.”

For football, another popular sport, the federation seemed to be in denial.

“It [sexual harassment] is not there. I don’t know about it. I have never heard of such cases,” said Regis Uwayezu the Secretary-General of the Rwandan Football Federation (FERWAFA).

He added: “Only ask me about football.”

Sarah Uwera who plays for the National Cricket team told The New Times that while she has not experienced any kind of abuse herself, she has heard about it in other sports federations.

Hard to find evidence

Félicité Rwemalika, the Vice president of Rwanda National Olympic and Sport Committee (RNOSC), said that sexual harassment in sports is not something new, but it is hard to find evidence because people do not bring forward cases of abuse.

“It [sexual harrasment] is widely spoken of but we don’t have evidence,” she said.

Rwemalika, who is also the founder of the Association of Kigali Women in Sports (AKWOS), pointing out that sexual harassment is likely to take place in Rwandan sport because all coaches are men and they train young girls.

“When you don’t abide by the coach’s requirements, you are either not allowed to play or replaced by someone else,” Rwemalika added.

And, in cases of abuse, the girls remain silent.

“The victims keep quiet. They don’t talk about it so it is hard to find evidence,” Rwemalika said.

Source: New Times

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