BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2021
The Uganda police force has embarked on creating masculinity champions to eradicate sexual and gender based violence (GBV) that is bedeviling the force.
“For a long time, the name of the police has been deteriorating and yet as law enforcement, we are supposed to be exemplary. You find that we are very much affected by sexual and gender based violence,” Rosemary Nalubega, the head of the sexual and gender based offences at the Criminal Investigations Directorate headquarters said.
She said as a result the police, with support from the UN-Women, is forming a ten-member team of men in all the regions to act as champions of positive masculinity.
She was addressing police officers and their spouses during a sensitization meeting at Arua police station on Monday. Also in attendance were Uganda Peoples Defence Forces soldiers from the 59th battalion in Arua.
Nalubega elaborated that the champions would be responsible for identifying perpetrators of GBV, talk to the children about the dangers of GBV, and create awareness within the police community.
The police leadership will hold monthly meetings to coordinate and follow up the activities of the champions to assess if there is positive impact being realized and share lessons learned.
“GBV happens in all places. It happens at home, in the community or at work places. It happens to children, to women and to men, meaning that we have the powers to prevent GBV from happening,” she said.
Last year the police recorded 17,664 cases of domestic violence, 9,225 cases of abuse against children and 16,144 cases of sexual violence of which 14,134 were cases of defilement.
Nalubega said that although this is the general situation in the country, the statistics also includes cases happening within the rank and file of the police.
To buttress that message, Maurine Atuhaire, the commissioner for child and family protection said she receives five cases on weekly bases of police officers involved in domestic and gender based violence.
“Many are cohabiting which is not a form of marriage. You have not been introduced to the man’s family then you want to divide property, which property? So, formalize your relationships and trade carefully by showing respect to each other,” she said.
The officer explained that the major cause of GBV is the patriarchal nature of our society where men are supposed to dominate women and this is why the police has decided to use men to fight the vice.
“Contributing to a new move to ensure there is gender equality and equity solves the patriarchal belief. We want to create sanity and leave that behavior, and deal with cases of GBV to strengthen our families,” she said.