04 Dec

Uganda: When Women in Power Are Battered

High profile women to suffer gender-based violence. The majority, however, remain mute because of their position in society. Some, however, have gotten the courage to break the silence and are now points of reference to other women facing similar ordeals.

One of such women is Judith Babirye, the Buikwe Woman MP who is also a gospel singer. The lawmaker has never been shy to speak about how she suffered domestic violence in her previous marriage.

“Yes, I was once a victim and was able to pick myself up and move on with my life. I am now strong,” Babirye said in a recent phone interview. The mother of one says she picked up the pieces by seeking counselling from different people.

“They guided and gave me wise counsel but emphasised that the final decision had to come from me and not anyone else,” she says. Babirye, who is known for her strong Christian faith also prayed, fasted and sought divine intervention.

“It is on my knees that God gave me strength to stand and hold my head high,” she says. At one point, she had to cease focusing on herself and make her daughter a priority.

“I did not want the violence to compromise my little girl’s future, therefore, I shifted my energy to raising her,” she says. Babirye married Samuel Niiwo in 2005, and filed for divorce years later.

Another notable woman is Beatrice Kiraso, the former Woman MP for Kabarole who wrote the book, Making a Difference which casts a light on her past life as a victim of domestic violence abuse by her husband who she later divorced.

Beaten because of work

A female MP who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity says she previously faced the wrath of her husband because of the nature of her work.

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