Many men report being battered and abused by women in their homes and many more are silent when they are beaten, denied sex and robbed of their property, says Paul Tentena the coordinator of Coalition Against Men Persecution (CAMP) a Ugandan organization which assists men who have been persecuted, battered and robbed by women.
The organization is affiliated to the Kenyan Association of Battered Men. There have also been recent reports from Uganda’s neighbour, Kenya about women beating men and men remaining silent because they are ashamed to acknowledge that they were beaten by women.
Paul Tentena says, “We are helping out men who are battered. In the 90% of the cases of domestic violence reported at police stations, the men are found guilty of beating women. No women are reported and found guilty of beating men.”
The Coalition Against Men Persecution provides legal services through a team of legal experts to men who are poor and are constantly battered by women. They also provide counselling to men that are stressed with their marriages.
The Coalition aims to restore African family values – where there is mutual respect and proper behaviour for partners in marriages within the various cultures of Africa. In addition, the Coalition fights for men’s rights.
“Men too have rights but not many organizations talk about them, because they think men are strong enough and can get whatever they want for themselves. Men invest a lot in relationships with an expensive African introduction ceremony, lavish wedding and gifts given to the girl’s parents. At the end of the day, a man is denied sex, is not given food, is locked out of the house, is not allowed to see the children and is issued with divorce summons. When the divorce comes, the woman wants 50% share of the property and everybody is willing to listen to the woman not the man,” added Tentena.
But according to Apio Joy Margaret there is a different side to the story in Uganda. “I do not support it [women beating men]. But women do not go out on the rampage to beat men. They sometimes do it in self-defence. In most of the cases it is the men who batter women. Men are foolhardy to try and fight women even when they are under the influence of alcohol, and in such circumstances, women stand on their own feet to fend off men beating them. When a woman beats a man, it is normally an act of revenge for an earlier beating. It is important that the two parties respect each other.”
However Paul Tentena says that CAMP have registered so many men with cases of having been battered and robbed which are later reported to the police and the Federation of Ugandan Women Lawyers that end up inclined to be sympathetic to the women’s cause.
“We are a pressure group but already women are very negative about our work and activities. But for us we are approached by men who are in trouble and we are ready to help them”