International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25th November 2016

Today marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, drawing attention to an issue that is a horrendous reality for millions of women around the world.

Globally, more than 1 in 3 women will experience violence at some point in their lives, mostly by an intimate partner.

Here at Comic Relief we have a long history of funding projects which help women and girls to have control over their own bodies and the right to live a life free from violence. One of these projects is MIFUMI, who we've funded for over 20 years to tackle violence against women in Uganda.

In Uganda, an estimated 70% of women suffer some form of domestic violence. Since its establishment in 1994, MIFUMI has directly changed the lives of more than 50,000 women in Uganda, together with their children, through services in education, health-care, microenterprises and domestic violence support and advocacy.

But their work hasn’t stopped there. Their campaigning has helped tackle domestic violence in marriages, by bringing legal reform to the practice of bride price. The practice, which involves the groom making a payment to the brides’ family when marrying her, was being exploited by many to trap women in violent marriages. To divorce, even if domestic violence was the cause, the bride’s families were required to refund the bride price. Women from poorer families who couldn’t afford to repay were then trapped in abusive marriages. Thanks to MIFUMI the refunding of bride price is now illegal in Uganda and women are able to leave abusive marriages.

Betty is one of the many women who have received vital support from MIFUMI, and fled a violent marriage. Read her story below.

Betty’s story

Betty’s possessive husband subjected her to almost daily beatings and forbade her to talk to other women or go to church. She was in constant fear of being violently punished.

But after eight years of abuse, Betty found the courage to flee with her two young children. Thankfully, it’s at this point she was introduced to MIFUMI, which uses Comic Relief cash to offer counselling, education and savings and loans to vulnerable women.

Through access to savings and loans scheme, she managed to save enough money to launch a second-hand clothing business, buy a small plot of land and build a new home, where she lives at peace with her children.

Now, with the continued support of MIFUMI, Betty heads a Women’s Rights Champions group of 177, providing leadership to community survivor support groups who, in turn, help other women in their village stand up for their rights, and live free from abuse.

Betty said, “Through MIFUMI I help other women. I tell them having children should not stop them from leaving their husbands and getting on with their lives. I’ve come a long way – a thousand steps from where I was.”

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