Synopsis of the SGBV index in the Ugandan print media


Article 1 of the UN declaration on the Elimination of violence against women, (1993) defines the term violence against women as any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result into physical, psychological and sexual harm or suffering to women. Family, state and community are the three contexts of violence differentiated in article 2 and these forms shall be understood to encompass but not limited to the following;

  1. Physical, psychological and sexual violence occurring in the family like wife battering, marital rape, and dowry-related violence and sexual abuse of children in the household like torture among others.
  2. Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the community like rape, sexual harassment, defilement, kidnap and trafficking in women.
  3. Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the state. Article 3 of the declaration affirms women’s equal right to the enjoyment of a variety of rights.

In Uganda, violence against women/Gender-based violence is prevalent in the country. Studies have shown high prevalence of physical and sexual violence against women by intimate male partners.  According to the 2011 Uganda Demographic and Health survey, about three in five of ever-married women (60 percent) have experienced any kind of violence (physical, sexual or emotional) by a husband or other intimate partner. Physical violence among women aged 15-49 was 43 percent while sexual violence was at 28 percent.

Gender Based Violence and/ Violence against women is one of the most shameful and pervasive   human rights violations. It has devastating consequences for victims and society as a whole. The health impact of GBV can for instance be as high as some of the leading causes of injury; consequences are also serious in the area of reproductive health. The socioeconomic costs of GBV include: the loss of earnings due to death and lost productivity, job loss, lost productivity of the abuser due to imprisonment, and loss of tax revenues due to death and imprisonment.

In a bid to eliminate violence against women, international instruments have been put in place and have been ratified by a number of countries Uganda inclusive as a result of its global concern like the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In the same spirit, there are also several international Declarations in regard to violence against women in various reverences like the International Convention on civil and political rights, UN convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, African charter on human and people’s rights and UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820.

It is against this background that UWONET has been undertaking a study on Sexual and Gender Based Violence cases reported in the print media namely, The New Vision, The Daily Monitor and Bukedde and The Observer. The print media has been in existence for a very long time and has been an effective mean of mass communication. It is awash with stories of women being raped, trafficked, battered by their partners, murdered, children defiled, kidnapped, sacrificed under the watchful eyes of the state.  Therefore, the media is a key ally in ending the silence surrounding violence against women due to its significant role played in bringing to light cases of violence against women. The main aim or objective of this is to generate information that can be utilized in creating awareness through public education about the problem of violence against women in Uganda with a specific focus on current trends, influence public opinion about the violence against women and put women rights issues on the agenda of planning and development at all levels.

Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) has been engaging in indexing SGBV cases in the print media over the past few years, among other approaches. These are from;  The cases recorded include: rape, defilement, murder, abandonment, physical torture, neglect, arson, physical violence, human sacrifice and kidnap. The purpose of the index is to provide statistics on cases of violence, to back up UWONET’s advocacy work. It’s also to track the implementation of the 2010 Domestic Act by the Government.


  • To identify the nature and magnitude of violence against women as reported in the print media
  • To propose measures of curtailing violence against women



Under the amended Penal code Act section 129, any person who has sexual intercourse or touches the private parts of a child commits an offense of defilement. A child is a person below the age of 18 years.


The Penal code Act under section 240 describes kidnap as a situation where any person takes or entices a minor under 14 years of age if male or under 16 years of age if female or any person of unsound mind without the consent of the guardian is said to kidnap the minor or person from lawful guardianship.


Under the Penal code Act section 123, any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats or intimidation of any kind or by fear of bodily harm, or by means of false representations as to the nature of the act, or in the case of a married woman, by personating her husband, commits the felony termed rape.


Under the amended Penal code Act section188, any person who of malice aforethought causes the death of another person by an unlawful act or omission commits murder.


Under the Penal code Act section 327, any person who willfully and unlawfully sets fire to any building or structure, whether completed or not any vessel, whether completed or not; any stack of cultivated vegetable produce, or of mineral or vegetable fuel; or a mine, or the workings, fittings or appliances of a mine commits a felony.


A summary and analysis of the cases recorded from 2011 to 2015 is as follows:

 A synopsis of SGBV index in the Ugandan print media for 2015 




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