Domestic violence haunts Yei county PDF Print

domestic violenceby Agele Benson Amos

Yei River County has lately been in the limelight for the wrong reason - domestic violence. Police have reported an increase in domestic violence cases, which contribute heavily to family break ups in the county.

An in-depth look at police reports on gender related violence cases in Yei River County arouses serious doubts and fears as far as human rights issues are concerned. The damning reports point to high poverty levels amongst locals as a major factor in the rising number of domestic violence cases.

The officer in-charge of the gender desk at the Yei police station, Mr Simon Towongo, says the increasing rate of gender violence has led to many separations and divorces, with the attendant impact on children. The gender desk was opened in 2007 by ARC and funded by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in cooperation with the Institute of Promotion of Civil Society (IPCS).

Simon said most of the cases he handled were fights among couples many of whom did not know their rights and those of their spouses.  “We solve such issues in a special room and investigate them in a professional way by giving both parties space to air their views fairly” he stated. Adding, “If they fail to come to a common understanding, we forward the case to boma, payam or county court depending on the type of the crime.”

A civilian working on the gender desk, Ms Silvia Charles, blamed the growing domestic violence on men who never give their wives enough money for shopping and general up keep. “Some women feel dissatisfied with their husbands simply because they come home late and drunk. This situation has brewed mistrust amongst married couples, some of whom have resorted to cheating on their marriage partners”, said Silvia.

Rose Tabu, a resident of Yei town, hails the government’s efforts to deal with domestic violence cases but, stated that much more still needs to be done, particularly in terms of addressing the root causes of the problem.

“The gender desks have brought a lot of positive change to families including mine. After a series of problems with my husband and mother-in-law, my husband started beating me every day and my mother-in-law seemed to be supporting this”, Rose narrated as she fought back tears running down her cheek, while passionately cuddling her two year old son in her arms.