17 February 2013

Uganda: More Men Beaten By Women in Busoga

Men in Busoga are not getting much love from their wives; they are instead getting beaten up, police records show.

Experts say a record number of men are being physically abused by their stressed wives and girlfriends. Inspector of Police Kulusum Nekyesa, the officer in charge of Child and Family Protection Unit (CFPU) in Jinja, says although very few cases are reported, the number of male victims of domestic violence is on rise.

At least 43 cases of domestic violence were reported at Jinja Central Police Station in January and an unspecified number at outposts or LCs and some settled outside the law.

"Men fear to report to us when they are battered by their spouses. They keep asking themselves what their friends, family, colleagues and neighbours will think of them if they knew they were beaten up by a woman," Nekyesa said.

She added that although cases of wife battering by men were more common, there is increasing evidence that women too are becoming violent.

"Despite the fact that women and children are far more vulnerable because they do not have the same financial security as men and they are the ones who suffer more severe and sustained attacks, they have in the recent past learnt a very bad habit of reiteration," Nekyesa said.

She said her office was doing community sensitization on human rights, the rights of children and how to deal with family-related matters. Nekyesa urged all victims of domestic violence to report their cases to the relevant authorities for assistance and refrain from retribution. She said children are always the final victims of domestic violence.

A male victim of domestic violence in Kakira sub county, Jinja district, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, said he feared to report to police because "it's a private matter - it belongs in the family. If I say anything, she will tell everyone I'm the abusive one and shame me in public. I'm ashamed I'm not strong enough to defend myself. Everyone knows it is men that are the violent ones."

But it is not only in Busoga that women are turning on their men. Reports from Kenya speak of men forming associations to fight violence meted out by their wives. Violence is triggered partly by an increase in alcohol drinking, job scarcity and poverty, among others.

In Kenya women say they hit men who fail to provide family upkeep, prompting activists to ask if men are justified to batter wives who fall short of expectations.

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