Sensitisation and strong self-deterrent actions should be taken against perpetrators of gender based violence, Gender Minister Mary Karooro Okurut says.
Speaking on Monday at the launch of the 16 days of Activism against gender based violence, Karooro called for a death sentence for perpetrators of violence and not life imprisonment because they could get off for good behaviour.
President Museveni recently called for a referendum for Ugandans to decide if some criminals should be denied bail or not. The Gender Minister voices her concern adding that the referendum must also not only include political criminals but rapists, sodomy perpetrators and defilers.
The Demographic and Health Survey 2011 indicates that 56 percent of women experience physical violence at some point since the age of 15 years. Twenty-eight percent of women aged between 15-45 years have ever experienced sexual violence compared to nine percent of men.
Regionally, 58 percent of women in West Nile and Northern Uganda have experienced sexual violence and so are 54 percent of people who are internally displaced. In Karamoja region the figure stands at 60 percent, while in Western Uganda it is 56 percent. Gender based violence is lowest in Central Uganda at 24 percent followed by Kampala at 41 percent. The worst region is Eastern Uganda at 74 percent.
Mondo Kyateka, the Assistant Commissioner for Youth and Children Affairs in the Ministry of Gender states that those who abuse others should be hanged since they do not deserve to live.
Kyateka also cites an example in Buyende district where a female primary school teacher was impregnated by a pupil which is another form of gender based violence against the males. The Gender based violence policy is currently before Cabinet and Minister Okurut says they are fast tracking it.
Hodan Addou, the United Nations women country representative in Uganda, calls on government to intensify efforts such as effectively implementing the preventions of various international and regional human rights instruments which Uganda is party to.
She calls for increase in resource mobilization efforts and resource allocations towards gender based violence prevention, and implementation of the Domestic Violence Act. Hodan also called for a review and enforcement of laws to hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.
It is estimated that violence against women cost Uganda over 16.3 billion shillings of the 2012 Gross Domestic Product. This includes costs to survivors for medical fees, transport and fees for legal and other support services provided by government.
The Kampala declaration of the heads of state and government of the Great Lakes Region signed in December 2011 called for the formation of among others the regional gender-based training facility which will soon be opened. Once operational, it will offer specialized training for various service providers in management of gender based violence.
The 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence is being marked under the theme “From peace in the Home to peace in the Nation; Let’s all act to end gender based violence.”