Living beyond the past

What happens when you get your happy ever after but with every waking day, you are afraid of what it will bring you and you no longer feel safe in your own home? This is how victims of domestic violence especially women and girls in households feel nearly every day of their life.

Yolanda (not real name) fled with her husband and family from Congo when the war broke out after being raped and conceiving a child from the horrific crime. Hoping to have a fresh start in Uganda, for eight years, she underwent domestic violence and emotional abuse at the hands of her own husband.

“I felt like I was tired of living,” recalled the mother of 3. “I expected my husband to understand that it wasn’t my fault I conceived out of our marriage but he constantly beat and harassed me, calling me all sorts of names. I was traumatized.”

Having to relive the awful memories of her time in Congo every day in her own home, she decided to seek help from HIJRA. She was received several home visits, counselling sessions and got psycho-social support. The HIJRA livelihood program provided her with start-up income that she used to open up a small business (selling rice and goat rearing) that provides for her household.

From her business, she has been able to educate two of her three children in a school in Nyakivale. The other child moved to Kampala to live with the grandmother and earn a living.

Yolanda joined Angel Group which was formed by HIJRA for survivors of Gender Based Violence. This has been her support system and through this group she has been able to reach out and sensitize other women who have suffered from domestic violence but are afraid to speak up. The group also acts like a mediator and hotline that alerts HIJRA protection officers of any household that has domestic issues.

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