A culture of victim-blaming and high levels of sexual and physical abuse are being tackled with tough laws as well as dedicated centres to help survivors

Dressed in a red and green dress, Elise* sits clutching her friend’s hand as she recounts her story to a social worker at the Isange One-Stop Centre.

Signs such as “Break the silence when you see gender-based violence” and “I’m here to work, not for sex” adorn the small centre, which is situated next to the bustling maternity ward inside Kacyiru district hospital, not far from Kigali city centre.

Related: 'I was sexually abused, humiliated and beaten. Legal victory was a great balm'

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