By Sandra Birungi
Residents of Nebbi district have proposed that to reduce the increasing cases of violence against women, women should start paying bride price.
In African tradition, the man pays bride price as a gift or thanksgiving to the girl’s parents for taking care of their daughter until adulthood. However, it has contributed greatly to domestic violence in Uganda with women unable to go back to their homes because the men want their bride price returned if the woman goes back.
With this background, residents of Nebbi sub-county have urged parliament to come up with laws to make women pay dowry. Peter Owachgiu, a resident of Koch Central said men paying bride price has rendered women vulnerable. “If things do not change, women will continue being punching bags for men because after paying bride price, men assume absolute authority,” Owachgiu said.
Project officer with Gender Based Violence Shelter, Immaculate Awor said the violence can only end if men learnt to communicate effectively to their partners. “For example, in India, women pay dowry for their husbands and yet they continue to be abused by men,” she said.
Baifa Wanican, the officer in charge of child and family protection at Nebbi Police Station, said they receive at least 20 cases of gender-based violence every week. “This is a worrying figure and most of the cases arise from property wrangles and women claiming to have been abandoned by their husbands,” she said.