Violence against women and girls is the most widespread human rights abuse in the world.
For women in Uganda, violence is a daily reality. With fewer opportunities to earn an income than men, no legal rights to own land and limited ways to be involved in decision making. Patriarchal practices have left many women trapped in violent relationships.
Approximately 65% of women have experienced violence at least once in their life. This violence is widely accepted as normal by both women and men. Women and girls are frequently blamed for causing or provoking violence directed at them, this prevents them from reporting violence to authorities. Where women do report violence, they often have no access to justice due to a lack of government funding for support.
What is ActionAid doing to combat the violence?
ActionAid has partnered with local women’s organisations to establish Women’s Protection Centres across Uganda. The Centres exist to support women with both immediate and long-term solutions to combat violence.
Here are three ways in which Women’s Protection Centres are helping women to combat violence:
1. Safe Spaces
To ensure women have access to immediate protection from violence, Women’s Protection Centres offer women safe spaces where they can access counselling and support to heal from trauma
2. Legal support
ActionAid Women’s Protection Centres offer legal support, empowering survivors to report attacks and supporting survivors to claim justice. Millicent is one of many women who has benefited from this. After surviving an acid attack that left her blind in one eye, Millicent sought justice at a Protection Centre and sent her violent husband to jail.
“ActionAid has always been there for me,” she says. “Now I know that even though I have one eye, I can still be an important person. I can still do something better in my life, I have hope.
3. Economic empowerment
To combat the economic injustices women face, skills training support women to become independent and stand on their own two feet. As part of this, survivors learn small business skills and enterprise management which enables them to generate their own income.
Harriet is one woman who has regained control of her life. After surviving 14 years’ of abuse from her husband, Harriet was supported by ActionAid to learn new skills. She has since started her own business making reusable sanitary products and has trained over 22,000 other women and girls across Uganda.
Empowering women to take charge of their lives through access to safe spaces, legal support and economic justice is crucial to ending violence against women. Make a tax deductible donation today, and help make Uganda a safer place for women.