Gender Based Violence Against Females With Albinism in Uganda
By Namutebi Olive, ED, Albinism Umbrella
In the African patriarchal society, violence against women and girls is unfortunately often accepted as a norm.
This however is exacerbated when it comes to disability which is widely misunderstood and explained away with different myths and misinformation. Whatever could not be explained, the African society would either conjure certain fearful myths about it or bury their heads in denial of its existence.
It is estimated that nearly 1 in 3 women aged 15 years and older, around the world have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, non-partner or both, at least once in their lifetime, indicating that levels of violence against women and girls have remained largely unchanged over the last decade.
The above notwithstanding, there are some disabilities that are widely unknown and are marred with myths and misconceptions in many areas. Albinism is one of the least known disabilities that is characterized by family disintegration upon the birth of a child with albinism. This phenomenon is often considered a #womenproblem as it’s pinned to mothers as the cause of this rare occurrence.
The Albinism Umbrella in Uganda profiled different women and girls as they decry the violence against
they attributed to the albinism condition.
Fatuma, a 25-year-old woman in the villages of Kamuli laments why God gave her this condition a source of misery and violence. The mother of three found a partner and together had three children. To her bewilderment, the in-laws shunned her home and forced her husband to abandon her because of the belief that People With Albinism are ghosts.
Sylvia, lives in the Kampala suburbs with her 8-year-old child with albinism having fled from the village to take refuge in the urban centers. Upon the birth of her child, the husband was quick to dismiss her as he claimed no responsibility for such a child.
That is your problem claiming in their family such children do not exist. Weak and convinced she would lure the husband to her side, she hesitated to leave the home but only got kicked out as a source of misfortunate.
A 14-year-old girl was raped and the case was reported to the police. With the high level of ignorance, the law
enforcers upheld the perpetrators citing he was exploring the beauty of girls with albinism.
“I lost my 12-year-old marriage when I had the twins with albinism” Nalongo recounts, “my husband accused me of extra-marital affairs with unknown white men.”
Albinism is synonymous with women and this is not true. As we “Orange the world” during these
16 days of activism let us end violence against women and girls with albinism. Albinism is not a women’s problem. It is a genetic condition inherited from both parents and let’s remember that Women and girls with albinism do not cure HIV/AIDS. Do not rape PWA. Sex with PWA is a choice and not a chance. Our bodies should be respected.