Women Church Leaders in Uganda Decry Gender-Based Violence amid COVID-19 Restrictions

Representatives of Uganda’s Faith Women Leaders at a Press Conference Wednesday, June 10 in Kampala.

Representatives of Uganda’s Faith Women Leaders have expressed their concerns about “rising cases of domestic violence” targeting women in the East African nation, apportioning blame to men for being unreasonably “demanding” amid COVID-19 restrictions.

"Men are demanding especially for the good food they didn't buy and women end up shouldering the responsibility of being home providers using their small savings," the women leaders said Wednesday, June 10.

Addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre in the country’s capital, Kampala, the women leaders comprising representatives from the Catholic Church, National Women Council, Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Church attributed the rise in the violence to “unresolved differences” among couples that are amplified by “disruptions in income, food and movement.”

They were flanked by the Information Communication Technology and National Guidance Minister in Uganda, Judith Nabakooba who disclosed, during the June 10 press conference, that 3,500 cases of domestic violence have been reported in the country in the last one month.

“Cases of gender-based violence in Kampala alone doubled in the first month between March 20 and April 30 compared to January and February before the lockdown,” Uganda’s New Vision has quoted Minister Nabakooba as saying.


According to the women, nothing justifies domestic violence “since the measures to tame the spread of the deadly disease have affected every citizen.”

Uganda has been on lockdown with stay-at-home directive in place since reporting its first COVID-19 case on March 21.

On May 19, President Yoweri Museveni announced a gradual easing of the lockdown restrictions, allowing transport services to resume while observing health regulations.

During the June 10 press conference, Minister Nabakooba urged couples in Uganda to shun violence and to heed to President Yoweri Museveni’s advice to use dialogue to resolve domestic conflicts.

She went on to appeal to community, cultural and religious leaders to intervene and support couples experiencing violence saying, “Let all of us strive to keep the sanctity of the family unit together because the Bible reminds us that a family that prays together will always stay together in peace."

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In April, UN chief António Guterres called on governments across the world to put in place measures to address a “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” occasioned by COVID-19 restrictions.

He said, “Peace is not just the absence of war. Many women under lockdown for COVID-19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes. Today I appeal for peace in homes around the world. I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic.”