Uganda Confronts Gender-Based Violence Epidemic: A Call to Action for Equality and Justice

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Gender-based violence (GBV) remains a pervasive and deeply rooted issue in Uganda, posing a grave threat to the well-being, dignity, and rights of women and girls across the country. Despite concerted efforts to address this scourge, GBV continues to exact a heavy toll on individuals, families, and communities, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive action to eradicate this pervasive form of injustice.

The Scale of the Problem:

Gender-based violence takes many forms, including physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse, and occurs in various settings, including homes, schools, workplaces, and public spaces. According to national surveys and data from civil society organizations, a staggering number of women and girls in Uganda have experienced some form of GBV in their lifetime, with alarming rates of domestic violence, sexual assault, and harmful traditional practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

Root Causes and Contributing Factors:

GBV is often rooted in deeply entrenched gender inequalities, discriminatory social norms, economic disparities, and power imbalances between men and women. Cultural practices that perpetuate patriarchal attitudes and reinforce notions of male superiority further exacerbate the problem, creating a culture of impunity and silence that allows perpetrators to escape accountability for their actions.

Impact on Individuals and Society:

The consequences of GBV are profound and far-reaching, affecting not only the immediate victims but also their families, communities, and society at large. Survivors of GBV often suffer physical injuries, emotional trauma, and long-term psychological scars that impact their health, well-being, and ability to lead fulfilling lives. Moreover, GBV undermines efforts to achieve gender equality, social justice, and sustainable development, perpetuating cycles of poverty, inequality, and violence across generations.

Government Response and Legal Framework:

The Ugandan government has taken steps to address GBV through legislative reforms, policy initiatives, and institutional mechanisms aimed at prevention, protection, and prosecution. The passing of laws such as the Domestic Violence Act and the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act represents significant milestones in efforts to combat GBV and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes. Additionally, the establishment of specialized courts, gender desks within law enforcement agencies, and support services for survivors reflects a commitment to addressing GBV comprehensively.

Civil Society Engagement and Community Mobilization:

Civil society organizations, women's rights activists, and grassroots movements play a critical role in raising awareness about GBV, providing support services for survivors, and advocating for policy reforms and social change. Through community mobilization efforts, outreach programs, and empowerment initiatives, these organizations empower survivors to speak out, access justice, and rebuild their lives free from violence and discrimination.

Education and Awareness-Raising:

Promoting gender equality, respect for human rights, and healthy relationships through education and awareness-raising initiatives is essential for preventing GBV and challenging harmful stereotypes and attitudes. Comprehensive sexuality education in schools, community-based workshops, and media campaigns are effective strategies for promoting gender equality, consent, and non-violent conflict resolution from an early age.


As Uganda confronts the complex and multifaceted challenge of gender-based violence, the need for concerted action and solidarity has never been greater. By addressing…

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