Is it ever a question of certain degree of anger? a notion that some gender is superior, maybe a practice that some conservative men have mastered all time right from the male chauvinistic ages. Oh no, it could be sense of entitlement and ownership, a practice of slave-like expectation hidden in a lighter term of domestic violence. That when, the slave owner wished, he kicked and beat up, when he thought, he thrashed and pushed back. So brother, show me where the distinction lies, maybe this could be another description of the same.
Not long passes before social media is taken ablaze with pictures of wounds or swellings, fresh and healing, mild and sight frightening of a certain girlfriend or wife, brutalized by the husband or boyfriend, not to say all accusations are true, but this evil lives, deadly and is spread with reach that the rightly nurtured hardly expect.
As a country, should we embark on a series of sensitization dialogues targeting men and boys, on the dangers of Gender-Based Violence, is it necessary to do? Haven’t we done enough on the men involvement in GBV cases, what is missing and why do these cases keep increasing even with the laws, policies available?
To the worst, those idolized by the growing generation have with intention stumbled and fallen, better to say like the football and Manchester united star Manson Greenwood’s actions of beating up his partner send waves of shock and implied messages of tolerance to those he inspires. Still at the worst, these undermine the frontline efforts to end such cruel actions of inhumanity. And while Manson maybe charged and convicted if found guilty, there is no assurance some other icon else won’t do the same.
Uganda Police Force Annual crime report of 2020 shows that 17,664 cases of Domestic Violence were reported to Police compared to 13,693 reported in 2019, giving a 29% increase. Furthermore, a total of 14,134 cases of Defilement were reported to Police compared to 13,613 cases reported in 2019, giving an increase of 3.8%
And there comes a contrast of what number is actually greater amongst the victims of domestic violence, those who report or expose it versus those who cover up and stay in violent relationships. Unfortunately, to some individuals, a woman is meant to be so submissive and part of this package is withstanding the husband’s cruelty against her, never exposes it but rather covers it up, endures it till death do them apart. On the other hand, and still the unfortunate one, some believe the men will change, they keep and hope, those dating marry, and live with monstrous beings, they hardly change, the beating hardly stops.
Maybe the justice system could do better, that is undisputed, but what could do much better is the detest and swift action by society, how about nurturing boys into men, into understanding that beating up doesn’t instill respect but fear. And most especially, that that’s not what humans do, they talk, or avoid to do so.
There is need to strengthen and build capacity of Police officers to effectively treat survivors without any biases and re-traumatization as well as conducting proper investigations to effectively prosecute suspects.
There has been an escalation in the number of GBV cases during the COVID-16 pandemic over the past two years most of them related to domestic violence and violence against children including child marriage. The 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey indicates that 56% of ever-married woman and 44% of ever-married man have experienced spousal violence whether physical, sexual, or emotional.
While there may be no choice of conflict, there is always choice of means of conflict resolution. To beat up and not to, are two distinct things. The former gives many more humane options. Our duty is to teach our sons, brothers and friends that beating a wife or girlfriend is never a choice nor an option, it’s never a means of conflict resolution but a degrading act of inhumane treatment that deserves no tolerance despite the cause.
Writer; BARYAMUJURA MAHAD, an advocate for social justice.