Ugandan men complain of spousal abuse


One partner fled the family home, citing abuse and a death threat. Another charged that the spouse hid the title deeds to the family property and secretly transferred ownership.

In both cases those complaining are men.


The majority of Uganda’s cases of domestic abuse are of violence perpetrated by men against women.

But traditional sexual roles are shifting in the East African country and now some men are alleging they are being victimised.

It sounds familiar to Ronald Kiyimba, a men’s rights activist who counsels men in distress from all parts of Uganda.

Kiyimba, aged 32, says he was compelled to form his group, the Call for Men Organisation after his partner of many years subjected him to what he describes as emotional anguish when he had no job and could not afford the groceries.

She repeatedly refused to sleep with him, he recalled recently, until they started to live together as “brother and sister.”

Then, feeling humiliated, he left their home and started the mission that has made him a prominent activist on behalf of those Ugandan men who say they are the victims of domestic abuse, in a country where the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of abuse are men.

I know lots of men who no longer eat food at home, who spend their nights in living rooms,” he said. “Because they are afraid of their wives. It’s like a war zone. This is why many men choose to report home late in the night when everyone is asleep and then leave very early when everyone is still asleep.”

Uganda is a deeply patriarchal society where male and female roles have been strictly spelled out. Men are not expected to play a big part in the kitchen, for example. Many men do not expect their wives to own property or even to own a bank account.

But times are changing. Women are going to school and they have more legal rights. And there are more opportunities for women entrepreneurs, many of whom are excelling in areas ranging from catering to farming. The growing economic success of women is giving them a new sense of confidence that is altering traditional roles in the home, experts say.

Ugandan newspapers often report cases of men who are allegedly battered by their spouses, including the case of man who committed suicide last year, apparently because his wife was abusive.

Nearly 25 percent of the 7 805 cases of domestic abuse filed with the police in 2013 involved men as victims, according to the latest crime report by local police, released in 2014. That same report said 183 of the 360 people killed in domestic disputes that year were men, leading Police Chief Kale Kayihura to suggest the country needs a rehab centre for men in abusive relationships.

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