Burden of Proof Movement, Kigali, Rwanda, 2014
The Burden of Proof Movement is a global story sharing platform for experiences with gender-based violence.
After months of daily experiences with being groped and harassed while living in Rwanda, I became fed up with the normalization of gender-based violence (GBV). I craved a way to build empathy for the compounded impact that the daily grind of gender based violence can have. When I shared my story with people who hadn’t experienced GBV, I felt the greatest gulf in understanding was in what the relentlessness of GBV feels like. I felt like I had to prove what a burden the normalization of GBV is.
When I shared my frustrations with others, I found that many felt the same as I. We formed a core group of people interested in sharing our experiences with the normalization of GBV. I facilitated a design session to figure out what we wanted to build together out of our common experiences. We identified a story sharing platform focused on capturing the cumulative effect of daily experiences with GBV. As part of our design process, I visited a university in rural Rwanda and spoke with a group of young women about GBV and the project (pictured).
I led the group’s effort to build a website that features a dictionary of terms related to gender based violence and shares personal accounts of the daily grind of GBV. Participants write down their experiences with GBV every day for 30 days, and their observations are shared via the website. While we found that not many people are interested in undertaking such a huge documentation and sharing effort, the few people who did participate found profound release and support.