Gender-Based Violence: Regrets, Redemption, and Leadership

Burafiki with his wife in their house
Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Par Jean-Baptiste Mirindi, Senior Officer SBCC &Media Governance

Determined to fight against GBV, Burafiki, 43 years, father of eight children, feels emotionally touched when he remembers the trauma he put his wife through due to his ignorance of the consequences of gender-based violence.

After the Food Security Project (FSP) gender-based violence training, Burafiki became a changed man. He sees  a change in his entire life. His wife Furaha is happy and there is an improvement in the economic well-being of the  family. Burafiki is determined to protect his family from previous years’ suffering.

"I led an unhappy life and was the sole decision maker; the sale of the agricultural produce was done only by myself followed by abusive use of the money, immorality, drunkedness, and exaggerated public quarrels until my family decided to deprive me of my heritage," he says with regret. “This situation affected my wife and the children. My children missed school due to lack of school fees and other school requirements,” he states.

Burafiki affirms that his wife had no say in any household decisions. "Even to consummate marriage, I didn't need to negotiate. I beat her even in the presence of my children", Burafiki says. With that ruthless life, Burafiki had two children out of marriage.

In 2020, Burafiki was elected “father leader” of Tchofi village, where he lives, a village located in Kalehe territory in South Kivu province. He obtained 25 voices from his peers, despite his ancient behaviour. He continued to grow with additional training on different themes of gender-based  violence organized by the FSP in gender and youth interventions.

He became aware that the household is built through the   collaboration of a man and a woman. "I started letting my  wife plan our income, we started to talk, and I felt emotional because of everything I was doing to her," says  Burafiki regretfully.

 Working together with his wife allowed Burafiki not only to  purchase a plot of land in Bukavu town but also some agricultural fields in his village. Burafiki is now happy, feels respected, and is determined to improve the nutrition status of his children. "I am happy I have built a house with  semi-durable materials.   And thanks to my wife’s advice, I have been promised an agronomist position with the provincial inspection of agriculture," Burafiki says with pride.

Burafiki’s wife affirms her happiness with her husband's behavior, the integral development of the household, and that her children no longer have school fees stress. "I feel contented," says Furaha with immense joy.

As an elected leader in his community, Burafiki organizes meetings twice a month with other men to discuss gender  and GBV issues. "Sometimes men come to my house, we sit  under the tree and each one gives his experience on the subject, we advise and support each other on what we practice in our respective households," Burafiki says.

World Vision implements some approaches in Eastern part of Democratic republic of Congo to address gender-based violence. To date, Burafiki is among 1,728 people who have been trained on gender equality, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and leadership. The trained leaders actively raise awareness of harmful gender norms and practices including providing guidance and referral to SGBV survivors.