ARUA. Traditional and cultural norms that prohibit women from reporting their husbands to government authorities over inhuman treatment are escalating cases of gender-based violence (GBV) in Arua district.

Some of the traditional Lugbara norms known as “Aru-baa” prohibit wives from reporting their husbands to police - whatever the case may be.

Aru-baa is a strong concept in Lugbara tradition and culture which states that cases; whatever they may be in homes are not supposed to be reported to the police but clan elders whose views often favour men.

In the event the cases are reported, it becomes an abomination as it is believed that the children of the woman who reports the matter will be destined for misfortune.

The concern arose during a feedback meeting on adoption of Prevention + project basic practices implemented by Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) Arua branch.

Ms Listowel Atto, a legal officer at FIDA Uganda Arua office said: “We have tried our best but we now appeal to our cultural leaders to fight this bad practice. Men are now taking advantage of these norms to infringe more harm to their wives simply because they will not be reported”.

The Prime Minister of Lugbara Kari, Mr Ismail Tuku said the practice is now mostly in the sub-counties of Pajulu and Ayivuni that neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We are now talking to the clan leaders of the affected areas to fight this vice much as it is still a challenge because the clan leaders are the beneficiaries of this bad practice where the affected woman has to pay a goat to the clan and elders to redeem herself,” Tuku said.

Meanwhile Mr Micah Avubieng, the Arua district community liaison officer said bad cultural practices, alcoholism, discos and drug abuse are still the major causes of GBV in the communities.

Mr Micah Avubieg 29 05 19Mr Micah Avubieg, the CLO Arua

He identified other sub-counties with highest cases of domestic violence in Arua district as Logiri, Offaka and Ulepi.

But Mr Jackson Chekweko, the executive director of RHU said there is still a lot to be done to prevent GBV in the communities and called upon all concerned parties to play their role in stopping the vice.

Early this year, a 13-year-old girl in Offaka sub-county died of multiple injuries after being gang-raped by a group of young men who were returning from a night disco.

Police said they suspect the group to have been highly intoxicated with drugs.

The prevention+ project of RHU focuses on engaging men in fighting GBV and contribute to gender justice and society free of GBV at all levels by using gender transformative approaches to influence harmful social norms and ensure that changes are firmly rooted in a supportive legal and policy framework.