BY SAMUEL TATAMBUKA
Prisca (not real name) lives in Village 9 Zone One in Biddibidi Settlement Camp.
The 30-year-old is a victim of gender-based violence and has no known right in her home. She cannot spend a night without receiving slaps and insults from her drunken husband. Sometimes, she is punched hard in the face leaving her with marks. Her husband has thrown her out of the house and married four new women.
“My husband beat and threw me out of the house when he married the latest wife; he already had other four wives. I am scared and insecure because he has vowed to kill me,” Prisca said.
She also told The Standard that instead of her home being sweet, it is now full of horror and anarchy fuelled by alcoholism and an irresponsible husband. “But I am not alone, I know quite a number of my friends, who will show you that things are fine at their home but with deformities on their hearts. Their suffering caused by brutal husbands is hidden behind a mask of smiles,” she added.
The distance from Kampala to Biddibidi in Yumbe is tiring, but such stories of gender-based violence could not stop us from visiting the refugee camp. We set off on January 28 at 6:00am and arrived at 8:30pm. We were so committed to our cause that not even the severe road condition could divert us.
The urge to empower refugees engulfed in the bondage of gender based violence at Biddibidi Camp like Prisca was initiated by Uganda Christian University (UCU) students undertaking development studies, human rights, and peace and humanitarian intervention.
At the camp, pain and disappointment are in the air as men justify caning of their children and wives. Husbands and wives accuse each other of causing domestic violence.
Lege Anyangson, the area LC3 chairperson and member of the refugee welfare committee, noted that the contributing factors to gender-based violence are alcoholism, unemployment and immorality.
“We have realised that due to unemployment and immorality, men no longer support their families, hence the fights,” Anyangson said.
Steven Nsenga, a student of Bachelor of Human Rights, Peace and Humanitarian Intervention, advised men to be role models to their children and to respect their wives always.
Lillian Dawa, a volunteer with the International Rescue Committee, said the skills imparted to the refugees by UCU students will enable them sustain their lives and keep the girls disciplined at school.