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Prevalence and Predictors of Partner Violence Against Women in the Aftermath of War: A Survey Among Couples in Northern Uganda


Saile, Regina, Frank Neuner, Verena Ertl, and Claudia Catani. 2013. “Prevalence and Predictors of Partner Violence against Women in the Aftermath of War: A Survey among Couples in Northern Uganda.” Social Science & Medicine 86 (June): 17–25. 

Authors: Regina Saile , Frank Neuner, Verena Ertl, Claudia Catan


Violence against women that is perpetrated by an intimate partner prevails as one of the most widespread human rights violations in virtually all societies of the world. Women in resource-poor countries, in particular those affected by recent war, appear to be at high risk of experiencing partner violence. Although there has been a longstanding assumption that organised violence at a societal level is transmitted to an interpersonal level, little is known about the link between exposure to war and familial violence. We conducted an epidemiological survey in 2010 with 2nd-grade students and their male and female guardians from nine heavily war-affected communities in Northern Uganda employing structured interviews and standardized questionnaires. The present study analysed a subsample of 235 guardian couples from seven rural communities in order to determine the prevalence and predictors of current partner violence experienced by women in the context of the past war. Study results revealed a high prevalence of ongoing partner violence experienced by female partners. In the past year, 80% of women reported at least one type of verbal/psychological abuse, 71% were exposed to at least one type of physical abuse, 52% suffered isolation and 23% fell victim to sexual violence. Findings from linear regression analyses showed that women's prior exposure to war-related traumatic events, women's re-experiencing symptoms and men's level of alcohol-related problems were associated with higher levels of partner violence against women. Differential effects of the predictor variables emerged with respect to different subtypes of partner violence. The findings suggest that partner violence against women constitutes a major problem in rural Northern Uganda. Programmes for the prevention and reduction of partner violence against women need to address high levels of hazardous drinking in men as well as women's prior traumatisation. In addition, different patterns of partner violence should be taken into account.

Keywords: partner violence, post-conflict, war trauma, PTSD, alcohol abuse, prevalence, predictors, Northern Uganda

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2013

Empty Words or Real Achievement? The Impact of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women in Armed Conflicts


Binder, Christina, Karin Lukas, and Romana Schweiger. 2008. “Empty Words or Real Achievement? The Impact of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women in Armed Conflicts.” Radical History Review, no. 101, 22–41.

Authors: Christina Binder, Karin Lukas, Roman Schweiger


On October 31, 2000, the Security Council of the United Nations (UN) adopted Resolution 1325 as the first comprehensive document on strengthening the role of women and girls in conflict and postconflict situations. The article reviews the resolution's history and examines its potential for the advancement of women. The characteristic advantage of Resolution 1325 is its central idea of the empowerment of women in conflict and postconflict settings. However, have the objectives of the resolution been adequately endorsed at the international level? Have they been sufficiently implemented at the national level? Or have the commitments of Resolution 1325 remained empty words without further impact?
The article explores the case of Uganda to illustrate the effects of the resolution on women as peace-builders in a national context and discusses the advances in addressing gender issues in postconflict justice processes. It concludes that many of the commitments outlined in Resolution 1325 still remain to be implemented—at the level of the UN as well as in national contexts. (Duke University Press)

Topics: Gender, Women, Girls, Conflict, Peace and Security, International Organizations, Justice, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2008

In the Face of War: Examining Sexual Vulnerabilities of Acholi Adolescent Girls Living in Displacement Camps in Conflict-Affected Northern Uganda


Patel, S. H., H. Muyinda, N. K. Sewankambo, G. Oyat, S. Atim, and P. M. Spittal. 2012. “In the Face of War: Examining Sexual Vulnerabilities of Acholi Adolescent Girls Living in Displacement Camps in Conflict-Affected Northern Uganda.” BMC International Health and Human Rights 12 (38).

Authors: Sheetal H Patel, Herbert Muyinda, Nelson K Sewankambo, Geoffrey Oyat, Stella Atim, Patricia M Spittal


Background: Adolescent girls are an overlooked group within conflict-affected populations and their sexual health needs are often neglected. Girls are disproportionately at risk of HIV and other STIs in times of conflict, however the lack of recognition of their unique sexual health needs has resulted in a dearth of distinctive HIV protection and prevention responses. Departing from the recognition of a paucity of literature on the distinct vulnerabilities of girls in time of conflict, this study sought to deepen the knowledge base on this issue by qualitatively exploring the sexual vulnerabilities of adolescent girls surviving abduction and displacement in Northern Uganda.

Methods: Over a ten-month period between 2004–2005, at the height of the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in Northern Uganda, 116 in-depth interviews and 16 focus group discussions were held with adolescent girls and adult women living in three displacement camps in Gulu district, Northern Uganda. The data was transcribed and key themes and common issues were identified. Once all data was coded the ethnographic software programme ATLAS was used to compare and contrast themes and categories generated in the in-depth interviews and focus group discussions.

Results: Our results demonstrated the erosion of traditional Acholi mentoring and belief systems that had previously served to protect adolescent girls’ sexuality. This disintegration combined with: the collapse of livelihoods; being left in camps unsupervised and idle during the day; commuting within camp perimeters at night away from the family hut to sleep in more central locations due to privacy and insecurity issues, and; inadequate access to appropriate sexual health information and services, all contribute to adolescent girls’ heightened sexual vulnerability and subsequent enhanced risk for HIV/AIDS in times of conflict.

Conclusions: Conflict prevention planners, resettlement programme developers, and policy-makers need to recognize adolescent girls affected by armed conflict as having distinctive needs, which require distinctive responses. More adaptive and sustainable gender-sensitive reproductive health strategies and HIV prevention initiatives for displaced adolescent girls in conflict settings must be developed.

Keywords: Adolescent girls, conflict, Sexual vulnerability, Displacement camps, Northern Uganda, Acholi, Qualitative, HIV/AIDS

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Girls, Health, HIV/AIDS Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2012

Moderators of Treatment Effectiveness for War-Affected Youth With Depression in Northern Uganda


Betancourt, Theresa S., Elizabeth A. Newnham, Robert T. Brennan, Helen Verdeli, Ivelina Borisova, Richard Neugebauer, Judith Bass, and Paul Bolton. 2012. “Moderators of Treatment Effectiveness for War-Affected Youth With Depression in Northern Uganda.” Journal of Adolescent Health 51 (6): 544–50. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.02.010.

Authors: Theresa S. Betancourt, Elizabeth A. Newnham, Robert T. Brennan, Helen Verdeli, Ivelina Borisova, Richard Neugebauer, Judith Bass, Paul Bolton


Purpose: As we build the evidence base of interventions for depression among war-affected youth, it is critical to understand factors moderating treatment outcomes. The current study investigated how gender and history of abduction by Lord’s Resistance Army rebels moderated treatment outcomes for war-affected youth.

Methods: The study—a three-armed, randomized, controlled trial—was conducted with internally displaced war-affected adolescents in northern Uganda. Participants with significant depression symptoms (N 304; 57% female; 14 –17 years of age) were randomly assigned to an interpersonal psychotherapy group (IPT-G), a creative play/recreation group, or a wait-list control condition. Secondary analyses were conducted on data from this randomized controlled trial.

Results: A history of abduction by Lord’s Resistance Army rebels was reported by 42% of the sample. Gender and abduction history interacted to moderate the effectiveness of IPT-G for the treatment of depression. In the IPT-G intervention arm, treatment effectiveness was greatest among female subjects without an abduction history, with effect size 1.06. IPT-G was effective for the treatment of depression for both male and female subjects with a history of abduction (effect size .92 and .50, respectively). Male subjects with no abduction history in IPT-G showed no significant improvement compared with those in the control conditions.

Conclusions: Abduction history and gender are potentially important moderators of treatment effects, suggesting that these factors need to be considered when providing interventions for war-affected youth. IPT-G may be an effective intervention for female subjects without an abduction history, as well as for both male and female former child soldiers, but less so for male subjects without an abduction history. 


Keywords: war, depression, Treatment moderators, Interpersonal therapy, child soldiers

Topics: Age, Youth, Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Health, Mental Health Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2012

Confronting the Reality of Gender-based Violence in Northern Uganda


Okello, Moses Chrispus, and Lucy Hovil. 2007. “Confronting the Reality of Gender-Based Violence in Northern Uganda.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 1 (3): 433–43. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijm036.

Authors: Moses Chrispus Okello, Lucy Hovil


Two decades of conflict in northern Uganda have had a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of civilians. Like so many of today's ‘dirty wars,’ gender-related crimes have been pervasive. While numerous disciplines over the past century have developed sophisticated theories for understanding the nature and agency surrounding sexual offences, the nascent field of transitional justice is only just beginning to grapple with these issues or design appropriate measures of redress. This paper is based on research undertaken to look at issues of gender-based violence (GBV) in four camps for the internally displaced in northern Uganda in order to provide insight into the nature and prevalence of GBV within a specific context. The findings show that specific GBV dynamics need to be scrutinised within zones of conflict and taken into consideration in the policies adopted post-conflict. The paper both illuminates the nature of such abuses within the Ugandan context and points to the need for concerted attention to be paid to the pervasive gender dimensions of violence when designing transitional justice mechanisms.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2007

Identity Reconfigured: Karimojong Male Youth, Violence, and Livelihoods


Stites, Elizabeth Howland. 2013. "Identity Reconfigured: Karimojong Male Youth, Violence, and Livelihoods." PhD diss., Tufts University. 

Author: Elizabeth Howland Stites


This dissertation examines internal violence among the once-unified Karimojong population of northeastern Uganda and argues that the intensification and increase of this violence over the past three decades is best understood through an analysis of both its gendered nature (i.e., male) and livelihood components. The dissertation uses primary data to review and discuss four hypotheses on the causes of violence associated with cattle raiding in pastoral areas: violence as linked to the acquisition of cattle for bridewealth, violence due to the collapse of traditional authority structures, violence as part of the competition over scarce natural resources, and violence as fueled by the commercialization of cattle raiding. This study finds that while elements of each of these hypotheses have some relevance for understanding violence among the Karimojong in the 1980s and 1990s, violence as experienced since 2000 is primarily a manifestation of the quest for respect, status and identity on the part of young men. Social, political and economic changes in Karamoja have gradually eroded the means through which males were able to establish and maintain a socially recognized masculinity; many of these changes were brought on by the very violence under examination. Faced with the erosion of traditional rites of passage marked by initiation and marriage, young men increasingly turned inward to their peer group in search of solidarity and worth. However, many of the means to establish and maintain status and reputation within the group themselves entail violence. Ultimately, this study finds that violence has become embedded within a cycle of maladaptive livelihoods and serves to perpetuate conflict, undermine the livelihoods base for the broader society, and upend the official and unofficial processes through which young men can achieve a normative masculine identity.

Topics: Age, Youth, Armed Conflict, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2013

Violence Against Women in Northern Uganda: The Neglected Health Consequences of War


Liebling-Kalifani, Helen, Ruth Ojiambo-Ochieng, Angela Marshall, Juliet Were-Oguttu, Seggane Musisi, and Eugene Kinyanda. 2008. “Violence against Women in Northern Uganda: The Neglected Health Consequences of War.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 9 (3): 174.

Authors: Helen Liebling-Kalifani, Ruth Ojiambo-Ochieng, Angela Marshall, Juliet Were-Oguttu, Seggane Musisi, Eugene Kinyanda


This article presents a summary of research intervention work carried out in waraffected Northern Uganda by Isis-WICCE, a women’s international non-government organisation, in conjunction with the Ugandan Medical Association and funded by Medica Mondiale, a German-based foundation. The findings of this research demonstrate the serious effects of sexual violence and torture experienced on women’s physical and psychological health. However, this paper also describes women’s key role in trying to bring peace to this region, as well as their resistance and survival strategies. It is recommended that funding is urgently required for the provision of sustainable, gender sensitive physical and psychological health services in this region. Women’s campaign for justice for the atrocities they have suffered should be heard by the International Criminal Court. Further recommendations are made with respect to policy changes in line with enhancing women’s roles and furthering the empowerment of these women war survivors.

Keywords: women, war, health, sexual violence, Northern Uganda

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Health, HIV/AIDS, Mental Health, Reproductive Health, Justice, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2008

The State of Female Youth in Northern Uganda: Findings From the Survey of War-Affected Youth (SWAY) Phase II

Citation: Annan, Jeannie, Christopher Blattman, Khristopher Carlson, and Dyan Mazurana. 2008. “The State of Female Youth in Northern Uganda: Findings from the Survey of War-Affected Youth (SWAY) Phase II.” II. Survey of War-Affected Youth. 


Authors: Jeannie Annan, Christopher Blattman, Khristopher Carlson, Dyan Mazurana


The Survey for War Affected Youth (SWAY) is a research program dedicated to evidence-based humanitarian aid and development. SWAY employs new data, tools, and analysis to improve the design and targeting of protection, assistance, and reintegration programs for youth in northern Uganda. Youth have been both the primary victims and the primary actors in the protracted war between the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). It is not clear, however, exactly who is suffering, how much, and in what ways. We also have little sense of the magnitude, incidence, and nature of the violence, trauma, and suffering of youth in northern Uganda. Our understanding of the effects of war on women and girls is especially lacking, whether they abducted or impacted in other ways. Government and NGO officials admit that they have little sense of the true scale of the problems facing young women and the proportion of females facing particular vulnerabilities. As a result, programming is based on immediate and observable needs and possibly erroneous assumptions about who requires assistance and what assistance they need. Likewise, with only rough measures of well-being available, targeting of services has been crude. The overarching purpose of SWAY is to work with service providers to generate better evidence-based programming. This report begins with a section describing methodology, before proceeding to theme-focused sections. As peace talks being brokered by the Government of Southern Sudan offer the prospect of an end to one of Africa’s longest conflicts, we conclude by offering specific recommendations to the GoU and international and local agencies operating in northern Uganda. (Executive Summary)

Topics: Age, Youth, Education, Gender, Women, Girls, Gendered Power Relations, Humanitarian Assistance, Livelihoods, Militarized livelihoods, Sexual livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2008

Who Owns the Land? Perspectives from Rural Ugandans and Implications for Large-Scale Land Acquisitions


Doss, Cheryl, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, and Allan Bomuhangi. 2014. “Who Owns the Land? Perspectives from Rural Ugandans and Implications for Large-Scale Land Acquisitions.” Feminist Economics 20 (1): 76–100.

Authors: Cheryl Doss, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Allan Bomuhangi


Rapidly growing demand for agricultural land is putting pressure on property-rights systems, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where customary tenure systems have provided secure land access. Rapid and large-scale demands from outsiders are challenging patterns of gradual, endogenous change toward formalization. Little attention has focused on the gender dimensions of this transformation. However this contribution, based on a 2008–09 study of land tenure in Uganda, analyzes how different definitions of land ownership – including household reports, existence of ownership documents, and rights over the land – provide very different indications of the gendered patterns of land ownership and rights. While many households report husbands and wives as joint owners of the land, women are less likely to be listed on ownership documents, and have fewer rights. A simplistic focus on “title” to land misses much of the reality regarding land tenure and could have an adverse impact on women's land rights.

Keywords: gender, land aquisition, land ownership, tenure security, land tenure, Uganda

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Households, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2013

Gender, Poverty and Violence: Transitional Justice Responses to Converging Processes of Domination of Women in Eastern DRC, Northern Uganda and Kenya


Fiske, Lucy, and Rita Shackel. 2015. “Gender, Poverty and Violence: Transitional Justice Responses to Converging Processes of Domination of Women in Eastern DRC, Northern Uganda and Kenya.” Women’s Studies International Forum 51 (July): 110–17. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2014.11.008.



Authors: Lucy Fiske, Rita Shackel


Gender, poverty and violence readily intersect in women's lives with profound impacts for women entrenching cycles of violence, disadvantage and disempowerment across women's lives in private and public domains. These effects are exacerbated in situations of armed conflict and in post-conflict societies where women are often targeted for particular types of violence, forced to enter into exploitative or abusive relationships and are routinely under-represented in key political, legal and economic decision making structures. Drawing on extensive fieldwork material we examine the complex and mutually constitutive ways in which gender, poverty and violence interact to shape the lives of women living in three conflict and post-conflict societies; eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), northern Uganda and Kenya. Finally, we consider the role of transitional justice, arguing for a more holistic approach with greater attention to gendered social and economic structures and better integration of the various mechanisms of transitional processes. (Synopsis from Elsevier Ltd)

Topics: Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Transitional Justice, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda

Year: 2015


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