It has emerged that lack of knowledge about the legal framework of Uganda’s law on gender, fear and threats have escalated Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), according to a women champion in Hoima.
Speaking at the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against SGBV in Hoima, Ms Cobra Katusabe the Chairperson Women Champions under the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), revealed that many girls and women are suffering from high level SGBV.
She disclosed that the vice is commonest in Kigorobya and Kyabigambire sub-counties in Hoima district where girls and women are subjected to such sexual violence acts as rape, defilement and incest including other forms of GBV.
Ms Katusabe said unfortunately, after committing the sexual offences, the culprits often times intimidate the victims and end up without reporting the crimes to the authorities.
“There are some cases where the perpetrators threaten the victims that they cannot get legal support from the authorities even if they (victims) reported. Ignorance of communities on relevant policies on their welfare has also increased SGBV in Hoima District,” she said at Kyabigambire Church of Uganda primary school.
The Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) Hoima branch representative, Mr Armstrong Allan Katunda, said there are increased cases of rape in communities with many victims going without accessing justice from legal authorities.
He also said in some cases, the perpetrators negotiate with the victims’ families without involving the authorities.
The Hoima District Health Officer, Dr Lawrence Tumusiime, said fear for men to disclose GBV women mete out to them frustrates justice leaving the wrongdoers go unpunished.
Ms Judith Nakalembe, the GBV specialist at CEHURD, urged government to reconstruct rehabilitation centres for SGBV survivors in Uganda especially in Bunyoro region where such cases stand at 80%.
The 16 Days of Activism against GBV is an annual international campaign that kicks off on November 25 and runs up to December 10 on Human Rights Day.
This year’s theme is: “Orange the World: End violence against women now”.