KAMPALA, Uganda– As the COVID-19 pandemic rages around the world, women and girls are more vulnerable than ever. With the world staying at home as per the lock down preventive measure to curb the spread of the Corona virus, there has been a rise in sexual and gender based violence including domestic violence posing a risk to the health and well being of both women and girls hailing from abusive homes.
While the measures have served to and succeeded in curbing the spread of the virus, it is important to recognize the concurrent upsurge of violence against women in both public and private spaces. The issue of domestic violence has exponentially increased globally within this period of the lock down as many women are being trapped with abusive partners, isolated from their support networks, and may be unable to access essential services. Homes in which we are all supposed to stay put are becoming increasingly unsafe.
The Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, issued a stern warning to perpetrators of domestic violence against women and children during the COVID-19 period. The Minister also appealed to the police and other law enforcers to see domestic violence as a serious crime, and further appealed to religious leaders in Uganda to mediate in cases of violence in homes.
“Some of these cases have already claimed the lives of Ugandans even before COVID-19 does so,” Hon. Tumwebaze said, noting that between 30th March and 28th April 2020, a total of 3,280 cases of gender based violence were reported to police.
“These acts of violence degrade the dignity of humanity and are therefore unacceptable. The perpetrators of this vice must be dealt with decisively and in a timely manner in accordance with the law,” the minister said.
According to the Ministry of Health, the country currently has 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and of these 55 have been discharged after successful treatment.