GERALDINE NABABIITTO: Woman – Finding a healthy place in today’s Uganda

The most commonly reported forms of domestic violence are physical threats, physical beatings, sexual violence, family neglect and verbal abuses.

The most commonly reported forms of domestic violence are physical threats, physical beatings, sexual violence, family neglect and verbal abuses.

“Don’t be a silent victim fooled by so–called love, say no more to domestic violence.” Ty Howard.

Many people have been fooled by their spouses in this sometimes exciting but usually deceitful thing called love. The police and the media have received and covered multiple assault cases mostly among women. In many cases, women are the victims of assault on account of idiocy where men think they are superior to women and therefore, have all rights to insult, depress and assault them.

The 2016 Uganda Police Force’s annual crime report sadly proved that gender-based violence cases increased by 4% from 38,651 to 40,258. In the same year of 2016, Uganda’s Demographic and Health Survey showed that 22% of women aged 15 to 49 had experienced some form of domestic violence. In all, 1 million women were victims of sexual violence.

During our enforced Covid19 lockdown, incidences of gender-based violence, defilement and rape cases increased in many of our rural and peri-urban areas. The 2021 Uganda Police Crime Report showed that at least 749 cases of rape were reported alongside 6838 cases of defilement. Saddest is that 223 people, the majority of whom were women, lost their lives at the hands of domestic violence.

These sad statistics only got worse last year with the latest Crime Report showing that cases of domestic violence increased to 14,693.

Of course, aside from social and cultural prejudices, Social Media has taken gossip and associated mannerisms to new and ultimately more dangerous levels. It is not uncommon for those who feel that a rejection of the display of their passions is justly compensated for by cyber bullying, cyber stalking, and in equally unfortunate cases, a release of nudes (porn revenge). The celebrated and now reformed Desire Luzinda’s 2014 incident comes to mind.

In a bizarre irony, using the Anti-Pornographic Act of 2014,  Ms. Luzinda was charged by our sometimes insensitive Police. Of course, this same Uganda Police was mute on the fate of at least 10 other women who also were victims of porn revenge.

However, today I will not rant against the inefficiencies or inhumaneness of some in the Uganda Police Force. For now, as a Ugandan GenZ woman, I am comforted by the strides taken by our state to address some of the issues thus far raised.

For instance, the Parliament of Uganda launched a national Gender Based Violence (GBV) policy identifying roles each sector should play to prevent Violence against Women and Girls. Our National Development agenda – famously called the National Development Plan (NDP) entails comprehensive plans to cause Mindset Change among our people. This Mindset Change – administered through the National Guidance docket as well as through Ministries such as Gender, Education, and Agriculture – will eventually bring cases of Gender-based Violence to a minimum. Indeed, in certain communities such as those in Kigezi and in parts of Teso, GBV cases have significantly reduced over the past 5 years.

Uganda joined the annual international campaign on Wednesday 23rd Nov 2022, through the Parliament as it launched the 16 days of activism with an appeal of involving men in the cause to fight Domestic violence, GBVs et al.

The Computer Misuse Act of 2011, although sections of it have since been repealed and others revised,  was passed in Parliament.; This law supports and provides “for the safety and security of electronic transactions and information systems” – in order to prevent unlawful access, abuse, or misuse of information systems including computers through access to social media where each individual will say whatever they want since they have data and own media accounts hence entitled to using social media in whichever way.

Article 24 Cyber harassment (1) also emphasizes that any person who commits or engages in cyber-harassment is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding seventy-two (72) currency points or imprisonment not exceeding three years or even both.

Therefore, as we look towards festivities marking this year’s Women’s day, it is worth celebrating the strides made by Ugandan, African, and International Women.

Today’s Uganda is a much safer place for the Woman. The freedoms we enjoy should be jealously guarded.

The writer works as a Communications Assistant at the Ministry of ICT&NG


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