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News release

Ugandans oppose the use of physical discipline against women, but see gender-based violence as a private matter

21 Feb 2023 Uganda
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News release
Key findings
  • More than seven in 10 citizens (72%) say it is “never justified” for a man to use physical force to discipline his wife. But more than one in four (27%) consider it “sometimes” or “always” justified (Figure 1).
  • Among women’s-rights issues that Ugandans think their government and society must address, gender-based violence (cited by 42% of respondents) outranks unequal property rights (16%), unequal access to education (15%), too few women in influential positions in government (12%), and unequal opportunities or pay in the workplace (10%) (Figure 2).
  • About half (49%) of Ugandans say violence against women and girls is a “somewhat common” (28%) or “very common” (21%) occurrence in their community (Figure 3).
  • More than six in 10 Ugandans (62%) see domestic violence as a private matter that should be handled within the family rather than a criminal matter that requires the involvement of law enforcement agencies (Figure 4).

Most Ugandans say a man is “never justified” in using physical force to discipline his wife, the latest Afrobarometer findings shows.

Gender-based violence (GBV) ranks as the most important women’s-rights issue that the government and the country must address, according to survey respondents. However, a majority of citizens say domestic violence should be treated as a private matter to be resolved within the family rather than as a criminal matter.

And while they are confident that the police take GBV cases seriously, a majority think that women reporting violence are likely to be criticised, harassed, or shamed by others in the community.