Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Uganda is a major cause of death and disability, a serious and widespread problem that affects and impoverishes not only women but whole communities. GBV is a multifaceted problem, which hinders women’s personal development and active participation in the public arena and hugely contributes to the low status of women in society. According to the Uganda Demographic Health Survey of 2006, over 60% of women aged 15-49 years experience physical violence, 39% experienced sexual violence, and 16% experienced violence during pregnancy.
In Mukono District, GBV involves physical and/or sexual violence within intimate relationships, genital mutilation, rape, old forms of culturally-based violence, as well as those emerging from socio-economic disparities. Women are seen as second class citizens, and denied the power to make their own decisions. Consequences for survivors and their dependants include mental and physical health problems, degradation, humiliation, increased vulnerability and dependence, often preventing women from participating fully in the life of the family and the society at large. Social roles reinforce the status of men while customs and traditions do subjugate women, leaving them vulnerable to violence.
Discriminatory laws, social practice and attitude have deprived women of several basic rights, exposed them to human rights violations. Local traditional culture permits a man to discipline his wife by physical means and is ambivalent about the seriousness of spousal rape. Customary laws here, disadvantages women, particularly in property rights and inheritance in that, a woman cannot inherit land, and must live on the land as a guest of male relatives by blood or marriage.
With limited resources, T.A-CRUSADE- UGANDA implements various community based projects employing multiple strategies aimed at preventing gender-based violence and/or providing direct services to GBV survivors.
These strategies have included: –
1) Influencing change in community norms,
2) Building supportive community structures,
3) Delivering services,
4) Empowering women and girls, and
5) Advocating for change in public policies