16 March 2013

Uganda: Survey - More Women Think Dometic Violence Is Justified

Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng, the Isis-WICCE's executive director, linked domestic violence to early marriage. Many girls are married off before they turn 18, which leaves them at the mercy of their husbands.

Christine Alalo, the Police child protection unit boss, adds that domestic violence is high because people get into marriage for the wrong reasons. "They do not marry for love, but money and status," she said.

A study by the Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention blames culture and tradition. It indicates that of the people interviewed, 70% of men and 60% of women said a man was justified to beat his partner under certain circumstances.

"For instance, if they deny their husbands sex, neglect the children or even burn food," the report said.

A 2010 report by Amnesty International reveals that more women than men think violence is justified. This is attributed to the patriarchal system of the families.

Some critics highlight the practice of bride price as a major vehicle for perpetuating unequal status within households.

According to a 2011 Synovate study, 17% of the respondents attributed domestic violence to adultery, poverty and alcoholism. Other causes highlighted were loss of parents, drug abuse and disagreements on the use of contraceptives.

The Government is also faulted for the increase in domestic violence. Lack of leadership in checking domestic violence is said to be fuelling the problem. Parliament passed the Domestic Violence Bill in 2009, but many perpetrators still go unpunished.

According to the annual crime statistics by the Uganda Police, domestic violence and sexually related offences account for a significant proportion of complaints received.

Civil society organisations are now concerned that the 2010 Domestic Violence Act will remain a mere scarecrow if the Government does not adequately fund the implememtation of the Act.

The survey reveals what people think are justifications of domestic violence.

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