High GBV cases worry Arua city leaders

L-R: Arua City Secretary for Social Services, Ms Kalsum Fadmula, the RCC Ms Alice Akello and Regional CLO, Mr Collins Asea, march during launch of 16 days of activisim on November 25, 2022. PHOTO/ FELIX WAROM OKELLO.

As high cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) continue to be a thorn in the flesh in most communities across the West Nile Sub region, Arua District leaders and Civil Society Organizations have embarked on a drive to contain the vice that is wrecking many families.
The leaders, during the launch of the 16 Days of Activism on Friday converged in the city to find lasting solutions to the increasing GBV cases that have compromised the guarantee of basic needs to family members, especially children.

The Arua Resident City Commissioner, Ms Alice Akello, said: “We must not fight each other at home. A woman should not beat her husband and equally a man should not beat his wife. We should protect the girls and boys from sexual exploitation. If there is violence in homes, children will run away and this is not right.”
Ms Akello said parents ought to offer their children guidance in order to safeguard them from rape, defilement or killings, among others risky behaviors and actions. 
“Some of these men have demons. They go for young girls. Even if they ask for money from you, please do not go for them. Go for older women and let us protect the children,” she said.

As a way of marking the day, the residents, district leaders and members of CSOs marched through Arua city streets to create awareness about the campaign against GBV. The 16 Days of Activism will end on December 10, according to activists.
The City Community Development Officer, Ms Judith Drate said GBV is influenced by poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism and acts of revenge, among others. 
“This has led to deaths or injuries on children and adults. For us to be able to grow, we need to have mental stability caused by stress,” she said. 
According to her, there’s need to create hopeful future for those who have been abused. 

“Please report cases of GBV to the Police so that we reduce these cases in families,” she added.
The Regional Police Officer for Child and Family Protection Unit, Mr Jimmy Anguyo, said between January and October this year, the City  recorded over 500 cases of Gender Based Violencez.
“These cases happen in families. And the problem is that people get compromised to report such cases to police because they are done by relatives,” he said. 

According to the police statistics, at least 467 out of 500 cases in Arua City were reported by women and 33 by men. At least 81 cases of defilement were recorded between January and October this year.
Mr Anguyo said the men still feel shy about reporting cases of GBV and suffer in silence. This, he said, has frustrated efforts to fight GBV in homes because the men later tend to take revenge against the women.
The persistent cases are despite the GBV policy that mandates the government to allocate resources for the implementation of GBV laws, such as the Domestic Violence Act 2010. Uganda ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1985.