By Carol Kasujja
Civil society, academia and media professionals have joined efforts in pushing for the implementation of existing laws designed to protect women from sexual violence, which is on the rise.
The initiative dubbed; “Together we can eliminate sexualized Violence against Women and children” seeks to drum up support for joint partnerships to end Sexual violence.
In coming together, the civil society hopes to harmonise and streamline their advocacy activities in a bid to up the fight against sexual offences.
The position was reached at during a meeting at Action for Development offices (ACFODE) in Kampala yesterday.
It brought together all activists groups, media and health workers.
Participates from organisation during the consultative meeting of Civil Society organizations. Photo by Mary Kansiime
Speaking at the function, Regina Bafaki, the executive director of ACFODE, said that the level of sexual violence in the country is partly on the lack of enforcement of existing legislations.
“Despite a lot of efforts from different organisations that handle women issues, we still see sexual offences on the rise because we are not united, so we have come up together to collaborate our advocacy, if we work together, we will be able to make a difference and make our work easy,” said Bafaki.
Bafaki also noted that they are also coming together because some organisations can lobby for the amendment of existing laws and advocating for the passing of the sexual offences bill and marriage and Divorce bill.
The campaign seeks to attract stakeholders to enforce gender-related legislation in a move to fight sexual offences.
During the meeting, all members from different organisations like FIDA, Uganda Women’s Network(UWONET) agreed that ACFODE will take the lead and be the coordinating body for advocacy on ending sexual violence in Uganda.
“Since ACFODE has been collecting and sharing stories of survivors, we believe that they will analyse the existing legislation on sexual offences, utilise existing avenues to bring forward sexual offences advocacy issues and offences reforms,” said Diana Kagere, the spokesperson for Center for Domestic Violence Prevention(CEDOVIP).
ACFODE will schedule lobby meetings with the Deputy Attorney General and line Ministries for the sexual offences reform proposals (Penal Code Act) and hold community dialogues and school outreach programs to make sure that they change attitudes and cultural practices that promote or silence sexual violence.