State minister for gender and culture Hon. Peace Mutuuzo has condemned negative social-cultural norms that she says have hindered efforts to end Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Uganda.
The minister called for a mindset change, noting that wife battering to date remains pervasive despite heightened efforts by government to fight the vice.
“We have put special protection committees to address all these issues. However findings from a 2016 survey demonstrate tolerance for GBV that is perpetuated by negative social cultural norms and values”, Mutuuzo observes.
According to findings from the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey of 2016, 50% of the women and 41% of men agreed that a husband is justified to beat his wife for specific reasons.
In a move poised to eradicate all sorts of sexual violence from government agencies, Mutuuzo says that government through Gender Ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and Energy Sector to ensure Violence against Children and Gender Based Violence are adequately addressed at project sites and work places.
As part of this arrangement, all government projects are required to undertake social impact assessments and social risks assessments to ensure proper measures including grievance redress mechanisms are put in place to prevent and respond to work place abuse.
Meanwhile today, Uganda officially joined the rest of the world in commemorating 16 days of activism against gender based violence. While addressing participants at Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC), Hajjat Faridah Kibowa the chairperson of the Uganda Women Council said her organization not far from now, plans to put in place grass root committees that will address all complaints at family level across the country.
“All this gender based violence begins at home. So we decided to institute committees of twenty people at all administrative levels to address this problem”, she says.
On the contrary, Milton Turyareeba the chairman of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) argues that the current legal framework is segregative, saying that often times men who are battered by their spouses find it hard to lodge complaints. Turyareeba says that this is so because the laws in place tend to cater for women and not both sexes as expected.
“It is very difficult, as a man how do you go to report that you have been beaten”, Milton asks.
In response, Peace Mutuuzo the gender minister says that much as the current legal framework is not all that accommodative, abused men have also not come forth with when it comes to complaints. Mutuuzo says in most cases, men tend to keep these grievances to themselves and their peers. She says that this needs to change altogether.