PeaceWoman of the Month
PeaceWoman from Burundi
Jeanne M. Gacoreke is committed to her work addressing violence against women and children in Burundi. At her centre, she supports women, many of whom have experienced the worst sorts of violence, offering medical, legal and psychological help. She also organises awareness-raising courses for couples, for the population in general and for key figures of the local community, in order to bring about changes in Burundian society. Her work can be very challenging as she often receives threats from perpetrators or even from members of her own family. Last year, a man whose arrest she was responsible for attacked her. He had raped a twelve-year-old girl. In the same year, her centre was attacked by a group of bandits who had been paid to kidnap a woman in order to suppress evidence.
Perpetrators are being protected
Jeanne M. Gacoreke has been involved in this work since the year 2000, when rebels and security forces raped several women in her village, Kinama. Many of these women were subsequently chased away by their families, as if they themselves were guilty of rape. Jeanne M. Gacoreke puts all her efforts into bringing the perpetrators to justice but these all too often enjoy the protection of the authorities or influential people. „You always have to be creative and find new strategies and never allow yourself to get discouraged“, she says. Because of the political instability in Burundi, Jeanne M. Gacoreke lives in Durban at present and puts her time to good use visiting similar centres there and thus expanding her horizons.