Domestic Violence in Uganda

In Uganda, women are too often abused by the husbands, who are neglecting to care for their wives and families, as explained in the story of Ssekandi, who mistreated his wife, Mary. This treatment has become rampant, as too many women in Uganda are being misused and then abandoned by their husbands.

A man by the name of Ssekandi Michael and his wife, Kyotaghaire Mary, owned a piece of land of about three or four hectares in a nearby village. One day, Ssekandi came up with the idea of selling the land in order to provide the family with basic needs, since they had three children to take care of. When all of the family members agreed, Ssekandi sold the land and bargained to get four million Ugandan shillings for it (roughly one thousand British pounds). Ssekanddi was given the money, and he became proud and excited, thinking that it was too much for him and his needs. However, Ssekandi started abusing his family members and the community at large, because he knew he had a lot of money. He started misusing the money by drinking alcohol.

One day, his wife, Mary, asked for soap and food since she was lacking them. Ssekandi rapidly answered, “You are just my helper, no need of asking for something.” Mary felt a lot of anger and decided to leave the home, but Ssekandi slapped and kicked her in front of the children and the community. Mary changed her mind and decided to stay, because she knew that her children would lack parental love and care if she left.

Mary was a victim of domestic violence. According to the Demographic and Health Survey (conducted by the government in 2011), at least 56% of married women reported some form of domestic violence in Uganda.

The man continued misusing money, this time through giving it to other women. One day he went to the bar so that he could drink some alcohol, and there he found beautiful ladies whom he admired. These ladies were prostitutes who were looking for money to earn a living. Ssekandi became happy with them and thought he had the whole world in his hands. He spent all the money by giving it to the prostitutes and buying alcohol, leaving his family members to suffer.

He eventually fell in love with one of the prostitutes. When Mary realized this, she packed her clothes and prepared her children, and they left, saying, “Let us leave peace for him!”

I believe that more people should support organizations that help abandoned women to sustain a living, so that women like Mary are looked after even though they have been abandoned or replaced. The government should realize how often women are abused like this, and should rescue women in such a dilemma. They should teach equality and tell men not to treat women as sexual objects or property. I also request that my fellow young girls join organizations like WIL-Uganda (Women in Leadership) so that they can be taught about such issues and what their rights are in these situations.

 

Kauma-Ruth-MercyKauma Ruth Mercy is a member of the Teen Voices program of the women’s empowerment organization, WIL Uganda (Women in Leadership). She is 15 years old and is passionate about gender equality and, more specifically, fighting domestic abuse. By writing articles, she learns how to make herself heard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author | WIL Uganda

WIL Uganda is a grassroots, community based, female empowerment organisation, based in a rural Ugandan town called Busembatia. Their mission is to empower women and girls with the knowledge and skills to become leaders in their own communities. Their vision is for the women and girls of the community to be in positions of leadership, and to act as role models for future generations of girls, whilst encouraging equitable development in Uganda. In the Teen Voices Programme, they discuss challenges of gender issues that girls face in Uganda and then guide the girls on how to produce news stories about these challenges. These stories are then published online reaching an international audience. They also show the girls how to use social media to share news and advocate for change. Through teaching the girls gender equality, and helping them write articles to raise awareness, the girls gain the knowledge and the confidence of how they can improve gender equality through their own leadership.

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