Men are superior to the woman
“Men are superior to the woman because they have paid ‘bride price’ to bring the woman into the man’s household. He can therefore do with her as he pleases.”
That was the view of one man in Uganda who took part in an Amnesty-run group discussion. Sadly he wasn’t alone. Here’s another, “Once ‘bride price’ has been paid, a woman cannot say no to sex. By paying the bride price, she and her parents have consented to sex anytime her husband wants it. He does not have to ask her, he can take it from her, even if he has to beat her to do so.”
Such appalling attitudes are not unusual across Uganda. In fact, a new report published by Amnesty today has found that these attitudes feed into the wider gender imbalance and dismissive behaviour of officials towards sexual and other gender-based violence against women.
According to the Uganda Demographic and Household Survey nearly 25 per cent of women aged between 15 and 49 reported that their first sexual intercourse was forced against their will – rape in other words; and it’s estimated that that domestic violence is reported in approximately two-thirds of Ugandan households.
This is horrifying but so far the Ugandan government is failing to tackle this systematic abuse.
Doctors, police and even the judiciary regularly turn a blind eye to these claims; the government provides no inter-agency support for these victims of violence, and women rarely feel able to report such crimes as they do not think their claim will be taken seriously.
Here’s one woman’s story:
“My husband and I got married in 2008… One day we had a fight and he beat me on the head. Because the injuries were quite serious, I went to hospital and they advised me to go and see the Local Council Chairman to report it. I went to the office but nothing was done… I then decided to go to the police [who] asked me for 20,000 Ugandan shillings for fuel to go and arrest my husband, which I did not have. My husband beat me again but I gave up going to the police because they always ask for money which I don’t have.”
Such failings within the Ugandan justice system are unacceptable and Amnesty's urging the government to tackle these issues immediately.
The despicable discriminatory attitudes as shown through the comments made by the two men are allowed to persist only because so many perpetrators go unpunished and state officials turn a blind eye to such crimes.
It's time the Ugandan government acts swiftly to put an end to these abuses and stem the worrying attitudes held by some men who believe that a woman is there for "him to do with her as he pleases."
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.