Lawmakers have emphasized the need for an all-inclusive approach to curb Gender Based Violence (GBV), saying that current efforts are geared towards women, leaving men behind.
The Members of Parliament (MPs) were responding to a statement on the 16 days of Activism against GBV presented by the Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development (Gender and Culture), Peace Mutuuzo during plenary sitting on 23 November 2023.
Speaker, Anita Among, said that boys have now become endangered because their needs have been neglected, hence leading to high crime rate which in turn causes gender based violence.
“If you cannot be able to look after the boy child, this is the boy child who will become your in-law tomorrow. You are better off taking care of both the boy child and girl child. We should not abandon the boy child,” she said.
Omoro County MP, Hon. Andrew Ojok, said that boys are now disenfranchised in all sectors, including health and education, forcing them into drug and alcohol abuse.
“When you look at affirmative action, especially in the political arena you find a district has only women and they are very empowered women. It is good to help women, but how can we help the boy child. Empowering the girl child does not mean disempowering the boy child,” said Oulanyah.
According to the Minister, among the emerging causes of GBV includes child neglect and abandonment.
“Child neglect and abandonment has increased emotional violence amongst the children and women,” Mutuuzo said.
She added that GBV is widespread in Uganda and affects all people, irrespective of their social, economic and political status.
“It occurs in families, communities, work places and institutions. The lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence and physical violence among ever partnered was 45 percent, the highest being Acholi Sub region, 78 percent,” said Mutuuzo.
The Minister said that this year, the campaign will among others, be to call to action for increased long-term sustainable investments from government, private sector foundations and other donors working to end violence against women and girls.
Hon. Cecilia Ogwal (FDC, Dokolo district), however questioned the impact of the campaign, saying that since its inception, no report on its impact has been presented.
“The report only tells us the causes of gender based violence. There is a second part which has been left out. How have we improve on the fight against gender based violence since we started this campaign,” she asked.
Ogwal also called on government to involve rural women, saying that activities focus on women in urban centers.
“When you look at this statement, the target is those who are exposed to social media, but when you look at gender based violence, we are aware the most affected are the rural women. I do not see any of these activities touching the rural women,” said Ogwal.
This year’s 16 days of activism will be held on 24 November at Siriba primary school, Bweyale in Kiryandongo district.
The 16 days of Activism is a global campaign against gender based violence that was started in 1991, spearheaded by the Women’s Global Leadership Institute. It is a program at the Rutgers University in New Jersey, United States of America which trains women in leadership based on global and good practices.