By Patrick Jaramogi
THE tradition and cultural practice of women kneeling before men should be outlawed, Gulu Woman Member of Parliament Betty Ochan Oyo has said.
Ochan made the remarks while addressing members of the Uganda Change Agent Association during a National Development Forum on Saturday. She was presenting a paper in which she argued that domestic violence was rooted in negative tradition beliefs which discriminate against women.
â€œThe negative cultural and traditional attitudes that demand us (women) to kneel before men must be debated and outlawed. For us to make good laws that seek to enforce the rights of women, we need to revisit and address the negative traditional practices against women.â€
The cultural practice of women kneeling before men, particularly their husbands, is prevalent in Uganda, particularly in the central region. But Baganda men also kneel before the Kabaka (king) as a sign of honour and respect.
â€œCan you imagine some men beat their wives just because they did not kneel to greet or serve them. This is domestic violence,â€ Ochan observed.
She noted that domestic violence is perpetuated by negative traditions that segregate against women, such as inheritance, bride price, female genital mutilation, marital rape and sexual cleansing.
â€œCulturally and traditionally, a woman is not allowed to refuse a husbandâ€™s sexual advances and it is unfortunate that these sexual assaults by husbands are not considered a crime in Uganda,â€ she said.
â€œWhy should I be forced to do something I am not ready or prepared for? These claims that sexual demands by husbands are a right should also be addressed to ensure that the rights of women are protected and upheld.â€
Julius Lutakoome Kayiira, the director of Mental Health Uganda, argued there was a dangerous belief that some women want their husbands to beat them as a sign of love.