An unlikely advocate for women

My name is Faustin NTIRANYIBAGIRA. I am 36 years old and I married my wife Leonie in 1996. We have three children – a girl and two boys – and I am Burundian.

Growing up, my family was very poor. My father was often drunk, and when he returned home singing in the evening, we would hide to avoid the arguments he had with my mother. She feared my father and his beatings.

In spite of my father’s behavior, I envied him. I saw him as a supreme authority – a “president” in his household – because everybody in our house trembled when he spoke. I told myself that one day I would get married so that I could give orders too.

This strong desire pushed me to start my family at a young age. My wife was young and beautiful when we married, but a life of strenuous chores awaited her: she ploughed fields all day long; she was responsible for all of the household activities, and on top of it all, I abused her. Indeed I followed my father’s example.

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