Victors tells the story of the women and men fighting to end sexual assault in rural southwestern Uganda. Contact us to arrange a screening for your organization.
Fighting for victors, preventing victims.
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a big issue in southwestern Uganda, as it is throughout the world. Lack of education and entrenched gender norms mean there’s a great deal of stigma and very few resources for survivors. Nyaka’s SGBV program, EDJA, was launched in 2015 by Tabitha Mpamira as a response to the needs of a nine-year-old female student who had suffered abuse with no place to turn for help.
Like the rest of our programs, we take a holistic, multi-faceted approach to advocating for survivors of SGBV. From individualized care and counseling to community-wide educational programming and advocacy work, we ensure survivors receive the care they need and communities learn how to end SGBV.
Our SGBV program contributes to the realization of these UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Nyaka operates four healing centers in Kanungu District, each hosted by local hospitals and health centers. These centers provide crisis intervention, including rape exams for evidence collection, as well treatments like Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), which helps to prevent the contraction of HIV/AIDS.
These services, which cost only a few US dollars, are typically too expensive for most families. So Nyaka provides them for free. After the initial exam, survivors are given follow-up medical treatment and counseling to help them move toward healing.
Because of widespread corruption, rape survivors must pay a fee of approximately $12USD before police will attempt to arrest the perpetrator. This fee can be half a month’s wages, and deters many survivors from coming forward. Nyaka’s legal advocates take this burden from survivors by filing the police report, paying fees, and assisting police with arresting the perpetrator. We also walk survivors through the complicated and often expensive court process. Because of Nyaka, perpetrators are being tried and convicted for the first time in southwestern Uganda, protecting future children from assault.
We’re working to develop partnerships with agencies supporting survivors of SGBV, especially the police. These multiagency networks will transform our healing centers into the first Sexual Assault Referral Centers in Uganda — where survivors can access a full range of support services in one place.
”"I grew up in an environment where rape and defilement were common."Brendah3 years with Nyaka
The girls I grew up with — none of them made it. Most got pregnant and dropped out of school or were forced to get married. I grew up in an environment where rape and defilement was common. When I started serving my community, it was not easy. People even told me, “You will be the first to be raped.” Those first months were horrible. But there was something in me that said “maybe you can do it”. People started reporting, and as time went on, things changed. As we did more radio programs and community outreach, people started to understand.
In a community where access to healthcare — much less mental health care — is minimal, Nyaka fills a crucial role for survivors of sexual violence. Our team assesses the needs of each individual who comes to us, then offers ongoing counseling to them and their family. Any time a survivor needs crisis support, they can call our hotline and immediately connect with our counselors. Our treatment plan starts by looking for areas of concern, then setting goals alongside each survivor to move them forward through recovery.
Survivors are often shunned, shamed, and taunted by community members who still believe assault is the fault of the victim. Nyaka educates the community about female rights and the consequences of assault through radio broadcasts, workshops, and local gatherings. We also provide information and resources to families seeking help following the sexual assault of a child.
Spotlight on the March Against Gender-based Violence.
In July 2019, 3,000 people poured down the road through Kanungu District. Police, civic officials, teachers, Grandmothers, children, and community members: all walking in the first anti-SGBV demonstration in southwestern Uganda. Here, sexual assault is not discussed and victims are shunned and stigmatized. So this public act of support marked a seismic cultural shift. The march concluded with a rally, and program founder Tabitha Mpamira proclaiming: “We will not tolerate violence in our communities. Enough is enough! We each can play a role in keeping our communities free of rape and domestic abuse.” A march for our villages, but a message for the world.