Research shows that children are abused by people well known to them, mostly from their immediate family members or even trusted neighbors and friends.
A national news daily recently run a headline, indicating how over 200 children had been defiled by their fathers since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Christine Amalingat’s children were at risk of the same.
The tough mother Amalingat was had pushed her little ones away from her. She believed the best way to discipline children was to beat them up, and make them submit to her authority, how wrong she was! “Even my little girl who suffered meningitis bore the brunt of my anger. I didn’t know we could talk things over with my children, beating and shouting was the order of the day.” Said Amalingat.
Amalingat recently for the third consecutive time won the LC. V women counsellor seat at her constituency. She knows, this would have been impossible had it not been her husband who allowed her to go about her campaigns while he took care of the home. Things were not like this before. Initially, the family was falling apart. “My husband and I were at loggerheads. I never thought that a woman could also share the money she makes with her husband. I denied him sex for months when we disagreed, and this further brought rifts in the family. But he let me hold my campaigns and return home late. He run the home while I pursued my political career” She said.
But just the family was falling apart, SASA! Together training happened. Amalingat was among the few participants who were trained as community leaders, the very knowledge she needed to turn her own life around. The excess power that this amazing woman had was turned into positive energy, and she begun to see things differently. “My children are now my friends. They share with me everything, including challenges where they may need help. I totally toned down and we discuss instead of forcing them to do things the way I want them. My neighbors had stolen their hearts away from me, and I was the problem.” These are painful albeit refreshing confessions to hear from a mother who has been reconciled to her children.
Amalingat has become the hero the entire community can emulate. Community members who are challenged with situations are now being referred to her for counselling.
Amalingat like several other community leaders in Molo Sub County, Tororo District have undergone two of the four Sasa together training phases; the Start and Awareness phases did not leave her the same. During the trainings, Amalingat is one of the most active participants, this must be coming from the benefits she has attained from the training.
“I never thought it was possible for my husband and I to live peacefully. We both have reduced our excess power, and it is working. Recently I got my money and renovated our house, to the shock of my husband. I never would do that sort of thing before.”
Sasa together team now at the awareness phase is currently in Tororo district where they are equipping communities with knowledge to question the way things have been for so long done, and if they really must stay that way. Over 19 sub counties in the district are benefitting from this training of both community leaders and activists.
Rhonah Babweetera, the head of the End Violence Against Women Prevention department at UGANET explains, “Our target at the start phase was to ensure that community leaders, the agents of change at the grassroot are changed themselves first before we could roll them out to the communities. Most of them are deeply rooted in their culture, and thes big mandate was to help them realize the things they must change, and this change should spill over to the people they lead.”