At least 223 women and girls succumb to gender and sexual violence every year, the Minister of Gender, Ms Betty Amongi, has said.
While officiating at the launch of this year’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence in Kampala yesterday, Ms Amongi said the vice should be highlighted just like those caused by accidents and childbirth-related complications for partners to appreciate the severity of the problem and strengthen interventions.
The minister also called for empowerment of families to report to the cases.
Ms Amongi said during the Covid-19 pandemic, a woman approached her for advice after the husband impregnanted their two daughters but she feared to report the case to police.
“ She is a high ranking person. When she came to me, I referred her to senior women activities who advised her to take the husband to police, but she said she feared to bring shame in the family and kept quiet,” she said.
“The statistics on gender-based violence would be higher if people opened up and reported all cases. During the 16 days of activism, you should increase awareness on the magnitude of the problem and encourage women to report. There should be some form of justice within homes,” Ms Amongi said.
According to the 2021 police crime report, about 16,242 cases of gender-based violence were recorded last year.
Out of these, 8,064 were domestic violence, 6,838 defilement, 749 rape and 223 were aggravated domestic violence that resulted in death.
A total of 144 cases of indecent assault and 29 cases of child abduction were also reported.
Ms Amongi also called for stronger structures at all levels so that cases can easily be reported.
She warned police officers against encouraging people who report cases to solve the problem from home.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms Susan Ngongi Namondo, called for more effort to prevent the vice.
“Gender-based violence is costing all of us by slowing down progress of development. We have not reached where we want to go,” she said.
The Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, Ms Maria Hakansson, said tackling the root cause of the problem such as the insensitive cultural norms and practices, including forced marriages and female genital mutilation would make efforts to prevent violence against women more effective.
Ms Hakansson appealed to UN members states to avail resources needed to prevent violence and also support survivors.