National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda has registered a number of cases on all forms of Violence against Girls and Women with Disabilities ranging from sexual abuse and exploitation of Girls to even Boys with Disabilities by HIV positive females.
Some of the cases have reached the high courts in the districts of Koboko, Arua and Pader but unavoidable logistically related challenges by the courts of law continue to plague the justice system from being fully exercised.
Even with the above challenges; the paralegals and local advocates in our districts of operation are doing a great job as watchdogs preventing Girls and Women with Disabilities from Violence. However, with the discriminating laws of Uganda, Girls and Women with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities remain afflicted by Violence against Women in exorbitant numbers. The law declares them of ‘unsound mind’ and therefore incapacitates them from pursuing justice in case of Violence.
For instance; Lillian a girl with intellectual disability (not true name) was defiled at 13 years of age. She was left isolated in the hut without female adult supervision and protection. The family later realized that she was pregnant and nobody has ever shown up to claim her 7 year old boy as a son. A local advocate helped identify Lillian as a survivor of Sexual Violence in Koboko.
In addition to that families of Girls with Intellectual Disabilities prefer to settle cases of Violence against their girls out of court and with the perpetrators no less. Every Girl with any form of disability deserves respect, dignity and to be left to grow and make own choices.
Families of Girls and Women with Disabilities are urged to become ambassadors and activists against violence directed towards Girls and Women with Disabilities, when that is done, the level of violence comes down hence creating a peaceful and an environment free from all forms of discrimination and exploitation of Girls and Women with Disabilities.
By: Agnes Aserait, Program Officer GBV