It all started in June 2020 when the in-charge Gender Based Violence (GBV) Police desk referred a case involving 53 year old Stanley (pseudonym) who had lodged a complaint against his wife Sonia (pseudonym) and the father-in-law. Stanley alleged that the two had beaten him up when he had gone to visit his wife at her father’s house following some misunderstandings they had had.
The Bundibugyo Centre supported by JLOS, UN Women and Embassy of Sweden in Kampala, took on the case. The Assistant Legal Officer assigned to handle the matter invited Sonia for an office mediation so as to hear her side of the story. To everyone’s surprise, it was discovered that Stanley was actually the abusive one as Sonia narrated how Stanley had subjected her and their four (4) children to a lot of physical and emotional abuse.
Sonia shared how her husband would physically assault her due to his alcoholism and further asked our assistant legal officer to visit their home and hear from the neighbors where she and the children would often seek refuge from Stanley.
On 7th July 2020, JCU’s Shamim headed to locus to conduct the mediation in the presence of other family members and the neighbors where it was discovered that Sonia was indeed telling the truth. The neighbors didn’t condone Stanley’s behavior towards his family and mentioned how on several occasions, they had reported the incidents of domestic violence witnessed to the authorities but all in vain.
The JCU assistant legal officer therefore took the opportunity to educate the family members, neighbors & LC I members on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and its effects. Upon receiving this information, Stanley apologized to his family and agreed to reduce his alcohol intake as well as desist from any acts of violence or else he would be prosecuted for his violence or receive a restraining order preventing him from accessing his home or family.
Additionally, Stanley agreed to provide maintenance to the family and an MoU was signed to this effect. Sonia decided to stay with her parents for a while to enable her and the children undergo psycho-social counseling and the Centre is in the process of finding a professional counselor to help her towards healing.