COVID-19 - A Domestic Violence a silent pandemic within COVID -19 pandemic

KAMPALA, Uganda – In Uganda, there are many cultural practices that tilt the scales towards gender inequality, but are often seen as normal since they are part of the culture. These practices in one way or another foster gender based violence and may include not educating the girl child, child marriages, widow inheritance, and female genital mutilation among others.

Centre for Women Justice Uganda(CWJU) recognizes that women in Uganda experience Gender Based Violence because of the inequality that is deeply rooted in the cultural systems. This is evident in their employment status, leadership status, assets ownership and many other aspects of life.

“Various cultures in Uganda embrace norms that encourage and teach females to be fully submissive to the males, emphasising that men are superior to women. This is disadvantageous to the girls and women for they will submit even in times when their rights are being violated. Some norms indicate that men are of more importance than women hence keeping girls at home as boys go to school,” says Enid Nabasa , Director of Programs – CWJU

Despite the overwhelming evidence that suggests otherwise, there are still cultures that place a lower value in educating the girl child, considering it a waste of time and resources. This is  violating their right to education.

For reasons of inequality, women are the greatest victims of Gender Based Violence. According to the latest data from Uganda Demographic Household Survey 2016, women are more than twice as likely to experience sexual violence at some point in their lives as men (22% for women compared to 8% for men).

This indicates the need to involve cultural institutions in the fight against gender inequality. Additionally, cultural institutions remain highly respected in Uganda with most cases of Gender Based Violence resolved in traditional courts showing the need to address the norms that foster inequality to achieve gender equality.

CWJU  on several occasions has intervened in resolution of cases of abuse that results from norms like widow inheritance, of which many have been a success. Through community modal girls CWJU  also regularly offers legal aid to people facing violence and other forms of violation of human rights.