Category Archives: Male violence

Why we need a Ministry of Gender

When men are denied sex by women, to the point that the poor fellas have to rape and/or kill their wives, it is time for the Minister of Gender to step forward and remind women to refrain from such dangerous behaviour and return to the true path. To warn them that denying their husbands sex breeds domestic violence. And that they risk meeting the same fate as the woman who was recently hacked to death by her husband of 20-something years for committing the crime of refusing access to her body.

This is the advice that was generously given to female constituents by the Minister of Gender, who also happens to be a women’s representative in the parliament of Uganda. Only a fool could fail to understand where she was coming from with that dose of wisdom. It is one thing to live in the city, somewhat self-reliant, and scoff at such advice. Screaming about the need for women to assert their rights without taking stock of their material realities is unhelpful, even endangering, especially to those with minimal to no way out – be they constrained by the shackles of bride practice, lack of formal education and skills, and outright poverty going back generations.

But one shouldn’t be distracted by those minor socio-economic issues facing women. Instead, we must stand in solidarity with the honorable and see to it that the men are catered to, both in the kitchen and in the bedroom. As we were taught by our Ssengas: A hungry man is an angry one. Why tempt the devil’s fist by shunning one’s divinely gender-given duty to satisfy the toes off members of the stronger sex?! Why forget that the only reason that you even have a body to carry you around is because your master was kind enough to spare a rib for you? It seems as if whenever things are going smoothly, one is bound to find a few scatter-brains losing their way and taking us steps behind.

That is why it makes sense to put these recalcitrant women in line before the fish rots any further. Policing… oops! rather, ministering “gender,” that gospel which tells of the glorious inherent superiority of one sex over the other, is a sacred duty that requires a national office to enforce. If gender wasn’t ministered, how else would men have known of their rights to sex and of a woman’s duty to give it without limit? How would we separate those who were born to sell it from the ones who can’t help themselves but do the buying? How else would we know who is supposed to own the land and multiple spouses? Who heads the family, from who is meant to do all the unpaid “domestic” labour in the home? Who is to be feared; who is raped and who does the raping? Who must be controlled in nearly every aspect of their life from childhood to “protect” them from the predatory other who can’t help but be that way, poor thing?

Seriously, without ministering gender, how shall we identify those who have a God-given right to walk around bare-chested from those who must be stripped naked at the mere show of their knees? Those who play with toy cars from those who must only be interested in playing with dolls? The ones of high heels from those of flat, firmly grounded footwear? How shall we know who must be respected by default and who can only earn respect, if ever, by being passive and subordinate and beholden in their place, however oppressive? Most importantly, how can society continue to exist if we can’t tell the baby in club pink from the one in blue?

The day women adhere to their roles and stop this foolishness of plotting for “liberation” and wasting time gossiping about these selfish, unAfrican “rights” will be the day we no longer have need for a Ministry of Gender.

Until that day, there’s work to be done.




Her Dress, His Choice

In the nineties, girls and women navigating through downtown Kampala would have been surprised to end the journey without being groped and stalked. By men. This was normal; men being men and women being, well, objects for men to grab, gawk and leer at. Negative reaction often resulted in a barrage of insults. It didn’t matter that they had just called you ‘sister’ or ‘mummy’ or ‘auntie’. You were buttocks, breasts, legs. Yours was to suffer it, preferably with a smile, and keep walking.

Years later, we hear stories of women who have retaliated against this harassment. Surprisingly, men are said to cheer them on, and playfully chide their colleague for the unthoughtful move. And so you would think that a lot had changed on these streets. However, last year when Ugandans were gifted with a Christmas of laws, including the notorious anti-miniskirt act, hardly had the thud of the honorable speaker’s gavel died out, than mobs were undressing women in the name of policing decency.

Such irony in a country still beset by the legacy of Sharia-champion Idi Amin who woke up one day in the ’70s to outlaw the predominant ‘mini’ fashion, and decreed that only ankle-length dresses/skirts (‘maxis’) were acceptable for Ugandan women.

Evidently the obsession with strong-arming women in the name of decency isn’t unique to Uganda. Just last week, the #MyDressMyChoice uproar was in full swing across our eastern border following the recent assault on women in Kenya for similar reasons.

The arrogance of men in their self-appointed role as gatekeepers of morality is but another vehicle for male violence against girls and women. Many glorify these criminal acts by claiming them using all manner of excuses for misogyny that have been recycled through the ages. Ultimately, such violence ensures that men retain domination and control over women by maintaining fear of and deference to them.

That some are quick to castigate the women who suffer this abuse, rather than the men who perpetrated it, is inevitable in a culture where boys and men are socialized to believe that female life solely exists to serve their interests. This has bred male sense of entitlement to women’s bodies, time, attention, and labour. Women too have been groomed to see such as their position in society, and our choices – however fragile the context – become a threat to male dominance if seen to be made without buckling to men’s dictates of a woman’s place.

This blatantly sexist conditioning of women and men is evident in the positioning of #NudityIsNotMyChoice as some enlightened rebuttal to #MyDressMyChoice. To see one as being in opposition to the other is typical male-centred thinking where women only exist along the angel/whore dichotomy as objects to be viewed by men; justifying men’s violence against women whose choices don’t fit into the ideas of what is and what isn’t approved – as decided by one man to the next, from one generation to another.

Whether groping, undressing women on the streets, or other forms of sexual assault, the message is the same: women must be kept in their inferior position, by use of violence if necessary. Thus, as we stood in solidarity with our sisters proclaiming #MyDressMyChoice, we were reminded that although separated by distance, the struggles of women around the world are, if not similar, rooted in shared oppression.

Every positive step forward in women’s emancipation is bound to come with tightening of this noose of oppression. Women’s liberation from sexism is under continuous backlash not just on the streets, but in our homes, and parliaments. As such, the pursuit of it must be relentless.




CALL FOR GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION October 11-18th #BringBackOurGirls NOW and ALIVE!


It is outrageous that six months down the line, these girls have not yet been returned home. Men in leadership in Nigeria need to sort this out with their fellow men in Boko Haram!


Bring Back Our Girls Placards_Page_06

October 14, 2014 makes it exactly six (6) months since 276 girls were abducted by the Boko Haram  sect  from their  school  – Government  Secondary  School,  Chibok,  Borno  State, Nigeria. The Boko Haram Sect  leader claimed responsibility for the mass kidnappings in a video where he informed the world that he plans to sell the girls into slavery. Till date, not one girl has been rescued, save for 57 girls who escaped on their own, while 219 girls still remain in captivity.

As the United Nations marks the International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October, we, the #BringBackOurGirls movement and the families of the abducted girls, are calling for a Global Week of  Action from 11th to 18th October 2014, to mobilize everyone around the world to demand for the immediate rescue of our Chibok girls and end this humanitarian tragedy.

It is undeniably apt that this year’s theme…

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