According to the Uganda Children (Amendment) Act: “’Violence’ means any form of physical, emotional or mental injury or abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation, including sexual abuse, intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against an individual which may result in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development or deprivation.”

Sexual abuse and exploitation is listed as a violence which includes completed non-consensual sex acts, attempted non-consensual sex acts, and abusive sexual contact. This also includes the exploitative use of children for sex.

Of 18-24 year old Ugandans, one in three girls (35%) and one in six boys (17%) reported experiencing sexual violence during their childhoods. This included 11% of girls experiencing pressured or forced sex. Of Ugandans ages 13-17 years, one in four girls (25%) and one in ten boys (11%) reported sexual violence in the past year.

Then there is Physical violence which is the intentional use of physical force with the potential to cause death, disability, injury, or harm. This includes punching, kicking, whipping, beating with an object, strangling, suffocating, attempted drowning, burning
intentionally, using or threatening with a knife, gun, or other weapons. Perpetrators of this kind of violence are Intimate friends, Peers, Parents and other adults in a position of offering care to the children.

Of Ugandans ages 18-24 years, six in ten females (59%) and seven in ten males (68%) reported experiencing physical violence during their childhoods.
Meanwhile, four in ten girls (44%) and six in ten boys (59%) ages 13-17 experienced physical violence in the last year.

Finally, Emotional violence which is a pattern of verbal behaviour over time or an isolated incident that is not developmentally appropriate and supportive and that has a high probability of damaging a child’s mental health or his/her physical, mental, spiritual,
moral, or social development.

One in three 18-24 year old Ugandans reported suffering emotional violence during their childhoods. More than one in five 13-17 year old children
reported experiencing emotional abuse in the
last year.

How do we prevent these acts of violence from happening to our children?

I don’t like giving too much to the state to take care of us as we already know it tends to fail us but its the only organization other than the family that enforce protective measure around and for our children.  The state can implement protective legal frameworks forbidding violent punishment of children by parents, teachers, and others, and laws banning sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

Emphasis the need of a strong family that has Parents and caregiver supported through
comprehensive individual and community-based programming, with a focus on encouraging the use of positive discipline in the home.

We also have to do checks and balances of our Norms and Values in regard to addressing harmful social behaviours and acts as gender inequality, including through engagement
with faith-based organizations and cultural institutions.

Then strengthen our income and economic capabilities to promote gender equality like social cash transfers and microfinancing and reduce overall poverty levels.

As a society, we should work towards initiatives promoting child participation and
empowerment prioritized and scaled up, instilling in children the confidence to resist
and/or speak up regarding experiences of Violence.

Then we can have safe environments,  education and life skills: providing education in safe and secure environments, including promoting the use of positive discipline.

Patricia Kahill

Patricia Kahill is a multipotentialite Christian entrepreneur, Content Marketing Coach and founder of the Content Marketing agency, Kahill Insights that helps business owners create engaging and interactive content items for digital platforms with a focus on returning a desired outcome. Patricia was the producer of SlamDunk Basketball Talk a show on House of Talent online TV, a former fellow at Harvest Institute for leadership and now an assessor there, and an alumnus of the YELP class of 2017. A member of the BNI Integrity chapter and African Women Entrepreneur Cooperative. She is driven by passion and curiosity, been taking every opportunity that has been given to her with an ambition of stamping her footprint on the world.

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