The Katerera County, MP Hatwib Katoto, has warned fellow men against battering their wives saying the consequence is jail.
The lawmaker pointed out that such practice promotes gender based violence which should not be entertained.
Katoto’s fury was ignited by society norms who consider a man who beats his wife as a ‘real man and is normal.’
“You men who can’t control your ego should never raise your hand to beat a woman who cares for you and your family. Whoever beats his wife will end up in jail,” a tough talking Katoto said.
The legislator was speaking during the stakeholders meeting on the launch of prevention plus project meant to curb gender based violence at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.
The stakeholders meeting organized by Reproductive Health Uganda attracted gender experts, MPs, government officials, civil society and prisons officers among others.
The Prevention + (plus) project is supported by Netherlands Government and implemented by Reproductive Health Uganda and Sonke Gender Justice based in Cape Town, South Africa.
According to Sam Mwandara the coordinator of the project, the project is to be rolled out in three districts namely Bushenyi, Arua and Kapchorwa due to high cases of the gender based violence.
Jean-Marie Nkurunziza, child rights and positive parenting portfolio at Sonke Gender Justice explained the objective of the five year project as engaging young men aged between 15 to 35 to prevent and end gender based violence in society.
Nkurunziza emphasized that working with young men is critical in the prevention of gender based violence and this can be achieved by using gender transformative approach, accountability to women’s and girls rights and gender justice among others.
Presenting overview of gender based violence in Uganda, Jane Ekapu, principal gender officer at the ministry of gender, labour and social development told participants that gender based violence is a grave challenge for public health, development and a violation of human rights.
Ekapu said to the curb the practice requires a multi -sectoral approach.
She pointed out that gender based violence (GBV) is a result of power inequalities between men and women.
The principal gender officer said the practice is wide spread across the country and is being perpetuated by male against women and girls.
Ekapu outlined forms of violence as harmful cultural practices for example female genital mutilation (FGM), economic violence, sexual violence, physical violence, psychological violence, emotional violence and treatment of women as commodities.
According to Uganda Demographic Health Survey of 2011, 56.1% of women and 55.4% of men aged between 15 to 19 have experience physical violence while 27.8% of women and 8.9% of men have experienced sexual violence.
The effects of gender based violence among others are obstacle to development, setback to human capital, increases the vulnerability of women leading to their impoverishment and undermines family stability.
On his part Dr. Peter Ibembe a gender expert and head of programmes at Reproductive Health Uganda challenged men who are buttered by their wives to speak out if the vice is to be curbed.
“Some men are buttered by their wives and they feel shameful to report and suffer in silence. You should speak out so that you will be helped and the practice is combated,” Dr. Ibembe said.
“What is detering men is social norms which keeps them away. They are encouraged to speak out and not to suffer in silence,” Ekapu said in support of Dr. Ibembe.
Gulu Woman MP Betty Aol Ochan said such men have been dis-empowered and denied things such as tea, major meals and others.
“When a man doesn’t provide sugar at home he becomes vulnerable and marginalized. He is forced to do domestic cores,” Aol said.
The advisor sexual and reproductive health and rights at Netherlands embassy, Hilde Kroes informed the audience that her country values policies that are geared towards fighting gender based violence and appealed to government and other stakeholders not to the treat the issue as minor.
“There are other people who think shelter and food are priority but we need also to look at gender based violence as a priority,” Kroes stated.