This week, The Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP) has called for “the government to allocate more funds towards the fight against domestic violence”. Despite the introduction of the Domestic Violence Act in Uganda in March 2010, which aims to protect people against domestic violence, it is still a very common occurrence that is rarely reported to the authorities. There are many reasons for this, including lack of knowledge about rights to protection, lack of knowledge about support networks available, poverty, and the common belief that domestic violence is acceptable.
Love or Abuse?
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics reported that 68% of married women aged 15 to 49 had experienced some form of domestic violence. It is shocking to hear that this is so common in Uganda but what is even more shocking to hear is that in many traditional Ugandan communities, women believe “the harder my husband beats me, the more he loves me”.
Due to long standing cultural practices, some people believe if a woman does not consent to sexual intercourse with her partner then he may use force to extract consent. This is a major cause of the spread of HIV. Other reasons deemed acceptable for abuse in some traditional cultural views include child neglect and going out without permission. Due to these cultural beliefs, many police officers even believe that it is a man’s right to use violence against his wife. Therefore, even when women do report domestic violence, often, it is not investigated. What is surprising is that a higher percentage of women than of men deem domestic violence acceptable. You can read some interesting reports on domestic violence in Uganda here and here.
Children on the street
One of the most common reasons we hear from children on the streets as to why they left home is abuse, both physical and sexual. In most cases, this abuse comes from a step parent who no longer wants their partner’s previous children around. It is a sad fact that children who run to the street to escape abuse, often continue to be abused whilst on the street by other children or community members. Sadly this was the case for Eddie Nsubuga who was beaten to death for a crime he did not commit. The only kind of love many of these children have been shown is in the form of abuse.
The S.A.L.V.E. Approach
At S.A.L.V.E. we are working to change the perception that violence is acceptable by offering our children the love, care and attention that every child deserves. You can support us to help more children affected by domestic violence by fundraising for S.A.L.V.E. or by sponsoring a child.
One way in which we hope to reduce domestic violence within the community is through our two women’s projects in Kakira and Mafubira. Both projects provide an income for the women, which in turn will allow them to be more independent and reduce poverty in the local community. It also gives them the opportunity to learn about domestic violence through our life skills lessons and through their interaction with a trained social worker.