Due to Covid-19 domestic violence, sexual violence and gender based violence (GBV) is at high scale in Buliisa and Pakwach districts but it is often under reported due to different reasons like fear or stigma, lack of awareness of the benefits of seeking care, where to seek justice, cultural beliefs among others. The Buliisa Health Centre IV In-charge reports that there are 180 young girls below 24 years attending antenatal care at the facility since the lockdown in March 2020 to date. Men took advantage of school going girls because they are out of schools and now can be accessed by men any time.
On 1st September 2020, BIRUDO started awareness creation targeting girls and women to address issues of domestic violence, sexual violence, gender based violence and rights. In September 2020 BIRUDO reached 10 village of Kabolwa, Kisimo, Ajigo, Avogera, Ngwedo centre, Kigwera, Kisansya, Kigoya, Kityanga and Wanseko in Buliisa district.
During awareness, BIRUDO learnt that men, who are working on oil roads construction in Buliisa district, are impregnating most of young girls. Young girls pointed out that the biggest challenge to them is that the person responsible for pregnancy always deny the responsibility and they end up being punish by their parents and they are stigmatize and affect their reporting to health facilities for medical care or police for legal support. BIRUDO also learnt that these young girls stand high risk due to premarital sex and its associated results like HIV/AIDS and other STIs spread, unsafe abortion and early pregnancies, early marriages and exposure to cancer of the cervix and fistulas.
Most of these young girls stated that, the driving force are need for money to meet their basis needs and petty gifts from men who give them for example in Kisimo village a girl stated that she used to receive gifts from a man who pretended to love her who was working with the oil road contraction company CICO.
Parents’ negligence due to domestic violence or gender based violence created family separation. This affect these young girls on how to get necessities needs from their parents and miss out parental advice therefore, it affect their adolescent life.
They also stated that there is also peer group influence in school and in the villages as other girls convince others to go in for men.
This BIRUDO awareness program is being supported by KIOS Foundation.