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Men silently suffering abuse

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th March 2013 12:34 PM

When talking about domestic violence, many people think there are only female victims. However, a recent visit to Kawempe Police Station revealed otherwise.

Men silently suffering abuse

When talking about domestic violence, many people think there are only female victims. However, a recent visit to Kawempe Police Station revealed otherwise.


By Stella Nassuna & Clare Namanya


When talking about domestic violence, many people think there are only female victims. However, a recent visit to Kawempe Police Station revealed otherwise.

Gerald Mpumwire and Caleb Nyakairu had recorded statements with the Police, reporting harassment by their wives.

In Lungujja Market where he hangs out, Mpumwire has become a laughing stock. His friends say he is not man enough and some are advising him to quit his six-year relationship. His cohorts said Mpumwire’s wife insults him, even in the presence of children and friends.

It is about four years since the Domestic Violence Bill was passed. The Bill was put into place to protect victims of domestic violence. Despite the presence of the law, however, many men who fall victim to domestic abuse either emotionally, physically or psychologically do not report the incidences to authorities.

Number of men beaten increasing

Judith Nabakooba, the Police spokesperson, says they rarely hear the men’s side of the story.

“It is only during heated counselling sessions that some men eventually open up about physiological or emotional abuse from their wives,” she says.

Nabakooba notes that the few men who report cases of domestic violence do so after realising that their wives have filed complaints in court against them.

According to the 2011 Annual Police Crime Report, the number of cases filed by men was 2,173, while that of women was 5,421. Nabakooba said in 2012, they recorded 1,974 complaints from men, against 6,304 from women.

Some men blame their low turn up at Police to harassment by some officers. Mpumwire says when he moved to Lungujja, he wanted to report a case with the Police in the area, but his wife convinced the Police that she was the one suffering abuse.

“The Police took her side and sent me away with a warning,” says Mpumwire.

Nyakairu, who had filed a complaint at Kawempe Police Station, said he was advised to settle the matter privately, because officers were reportedly fed up of his continued appearance with the same case.

Nabakooba, however, advises men to report cases of domestic violence to the child and family protection unit.

“The officers in these units been trained to handle such cases. If a Police officer bullies or mocks a man who reports a case of domestic violence, then it is certain that such an officer is not trained in handling such issues,” she says.

Nabakooba also notes that more men die as a result of domestic violence, compared to women. This, according to her, is as a result of some men failing to control their anger or jealousy.

‘‘When a man suspects his wife of cheating on him, he may decide to fight another man, which is likely to result into death,’’ she notes.

Causes of domestic violence

According to Police records, the most common cause of domestic violence is land wrangles. Other factors are marital rape, family misunderstandings, political differences, drug abuse, alcohol, gender and income inequalities.

The 2009 Annual Police Crime Report showed that about 350 domestic violence homicide cases were reported. In 2010, the number rose to 435 and in 2011, 457 cases were reported.

Why men do not open up

Abbey Kabanda, a counsellor and panelist on the Akasaale programme on Bukedde TV, says most men do not report cases of domestic violence because they think they can handle the problem.

‘‘For instance, among the Baganda, a man is reffered to as musajjanwaza (warrior), so he can persevere in all circumstances.’’

“The man should try to settle the matter at home before proceeding to the authorities. He should seek counsel from his wife’s aunt, if they were married traditionally or a religious leader if they were married in church,” Kabanda advises.

Advice

“There is no smoke without a fire. So, as a good parent, I would first find out from my son why his wife beats or tortures him,” Okello Moses, 51, says.

He also adds that if his daughter beat her husband, he would not hesitate to ask her why she was doing so.

“If the matter can be solved at home through counselling, then well and good, but if they cannot solve it, then I would advise my son to report it to the authorities,” he says.

Okello also adds: ‘‘If my son is not brave enough to report to the authorities, I would advise him to separate from his wife.’’

Osmond Atwine, a lawyer with Kahara & Co. Advocates in Kampala, says the man should seek legal redress.

‘‘The Domestic Violence Act, 2010, gives him the right to file a complaint with the LCs. If they fail to settle the matter, then they should refer it either to a court, or the Police,’’ Atwine advises.

Joseph Musaalo, a counsellor at Uganda Christian University, Mukono, also recommends filing a complaint with the authorities.

He, however, says: “The couple should adopt effective communication methods, where they talk about issues as they arise and not wait for them to pile up and later explode in their faces.”

 

Men silently suffering abuse

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