COVID-19 leads to spike in wife-beating in Uganda says archbishop

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The Coronavirus lockdown will lead to a spike in violence against women, the Archbishop of Uganda warned last week. The Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba, who also serves as chairman of the Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU, on 6 May 2020 told reporters gathered at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala the social consequences of the virus could claim more victims than the disease.

“Fellow Ugandans, we have witnessed an increase of cases of Gender Based Violence during the lockdown. As religious leaders, we therefore appeal and encourage to work together to prevent GBV in our homes and communities and provide psycho-social support to victims during the COVID-19 lockdown,” he said.

“When there is no food in the house,” the archbishop said, “men tend to get mad and resort to beating their wives. But there are also women who are busy abusing their husbands because their husbands do not have money and this has further intensified anger among the couples. I ask all men to desist from beating their wives, but women should also respect their husbands,” he said.

The Archbishop also asked the national COVID-19 task force to prioritise food distribution to HIV/Aids patients, many of whom have not been able to access their anti-retroviral treatment due to the lockdown. “We call upon HIV/AIDS service providers to avail at least three months’ supply drugs (ARVs) to people living with AIDS during this time,” he said.

The archbishop was briefing reporters on Uganda’s May 17th Candlelight Memorial to remember those who had died of AIDS. This year’s celebration, he explained, would take place “scientifically”, with individuals observing the memorial from their homes and on-line.

Installed as archbishop in January, Dr. Kaziimba, has prioritized the fight against gender based violence as a priority of his tenure as primate of the Church of Uganda.