By Miriam Cherukut
Do you remember Aisha Nabukeera , the child abuse survivor burnt beyond recognition in 2006? A few months ago, she was among the finalists in the Miss Uganda contest and won the Woman of Courage Award. A week ago, she won the Special Courageous Achievement Award at the Diva Awards.
Nabukeera rose to fame after a sad incident in 2006, where her mother tricked her into wearing a silk dress socked in paraffin (kerosene) and set her ablaze. Her entire body was burnt beyond recognition and even today, one cannot help but to see the scars on her arms.
Nabukeera showed Ugandans that nothing can pull her down; she bared the camera shots and stares that focussed on her scarred body with grace. That is courage and a glimpse of the bravery of women and girls who rise above deep scars from their past.
ActionAid Uganda continues to interact with girls and women who have experienced such horrific acts of violence - inhuman, painful, and demeaning tales of violence. Stories of child abuse continue to torment us and questions as to why people inflict pain on innocent children go unanswered. The ordeal of an 18-month baby girl being kicked in the face and stomach by her nanny who does not stop there but puts her entire weight on the little girl is still fresh in the minds of thousands of Ugandans who watched the video that went viral on social media.
Justice institutions and humanitarian organisations receive hundreds of new cases of Gender Based Violence every week and there are courageous women who have survived violence and moved forward everywhere. In 2014, the 10 Gender Based Violence shelters supported by ActionAid Uganda recorded 1,130 women and girls who reported freedom from GBV and 1,066 women accessing, controlling land, and other productive resources because of our interventions (ActionAid Annual Report).
We are inspired by stories of survivors like Nabukeera and many others to fight on in our pursuit for justice and freedom for women and girls who continue to be at the centre of gruesome acts of violence. We remain resolute in our commitment to support promotion of women and children rights, which is about equality for all (women and children inclusive).
The women protection centres on 10 locations around Uganda are open to such children and we implore the public to support survivors of child abuse and Gender Based Violence to support them to access justice through our centres.