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 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.