Financial Freedom, a Key Ingredient in the Eradication of Domestic Violence in Teso

Juliet Acom
Posted January 4, 2019 from Uganda
Akullo weighing meat at her butcher stall in Arapai Village Market

My Name is Akullo,

I hail from Pingire, a small village in the Serere District of Teso Region of Eastern Uganda. I am a mother of 9daughters of whom 2 are deceased leaving me with 7 aged between 15 and 32 years. I am also a grandmother and self employed as a cattle and goat farmer/ butcher in Arapai Market.

When I had my 4th child, another daughter, my husband joined his family members to torment Me over my failure to provide him with a male child who would take on the family name and become his heir. What started as a joke about me having only "female eggs" in my womb turned in to harsh comments even from my fellow women in laws, this took an emotional toll on me. When I got pregnant for my 5th child my husband made it clear that if I did not bear him a son he would take on a second younger woman to help him in this quest. He also wanted my family to return the dowry he had paid to them during our traditional marriage.

I was blessed with another daughter and what started as emotional abuse turned into open public ridicule and then verbal abusive humiliation. Inevitably this was accompanied by an occasional slap and eventually a punch in the stomach and a kicks to my back and legs.

In the process I had a miscarriage from this trauma followed by a still birth. My husband brought another wife, we lived in the same compund in two different huts.This did not stop my husband from demanding sexual relations even after the beatings usually triggered by requests to provide household needs and basics for our children. I was a housewife growing subsistence crops on the family land mostly to feed the children. I feared for their lives and future if I were to die before they all grew, I worried day and night and I lost weight and self esteem.

Until one day I had over the radio an organisation teaching local farmers about improved farming. I decided to borrow money from my cousin sister who also allowed me to utilise her piece of land for animal husbandry. I started with a few goats, which I sold and bought cows for sale. With time I stopped asking my husband for money for the children's needs and other items because I could manage this with the proceeds from my animals. I also earned from lending to neighbours who would pay back with interest and with time I was able to buy my own piece of land and construct a 3roomed house where I currently live. My husband asked me to leave his home when my co wife bore him a son. With some of the proceeds from my farmwork i was able to return part of his dowry to stop his family from making snide remarks to my people.

He claimed that they needed a special hut (where I was staying) for the boy. I respected his wishes because by now I could manage on my own. I have made peace with all that happened, my daughters have grown and some are married, I do not refuse them from going to their relatives to visit but I ensured that they get an education so that they can have a better future and I have taught them about the importance of savings and financial independence. 

My husband is bedridden and once in a while I send him medical support. I do this because I do not want his son to take on the culture that gave me grief, I want his son to know the importance of empowering women economically and standing for their rights. Women are human too and are important people in the community.

My advice to fellow women is that when they see women in a domestic violence predicament, they should not encourage it to grow through gossip and harsh words. They should fight for them by sharing the little knowledge they have for development and self defense.

Comments 15

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Lisbeth
Jan 04
Jan 04

Hi Akullo,
Haha how fortunate you are to have " only females egg" in your womb! :-)
My mother also had a similar womb. We all girls just that we are not up to 7 haha. Female butcher that is impressive. Do you also you also do the slaughtering? It might not be easy to be a female butcher among males I guess? Pls what are your greatest challenge as a butcher?
Pls you are the founder and CEO of R. E .S. T.O. R. E you stated? Pls is it same as the meat factory?
Hope you are having a nice day.

Juliet Acom
Feb 18
Feb 18

Hi Salifu,
I was merely sharing this story on behalf of Akullo. .
To answer your questions briefly
- She hires experienced people to do the slaughtering.
- She says her biggest challenge is transport from the village to the town when it's time for sales. Also sometimes the animals get infections and drugs are expensive so It affects her profits.
- She says she has learnt to be patient with the men and they respect her alot being an older woman in this field.

Thanks for taking time to read this story, It is nice to know that someone out there can relate to Akullo's story....i do hope you can share your own cultural experience in a girls only home some time :)
I hope to see Akullo soon and will show her all the feedback.

Best regards,

Juliet Acom

Jill Langhus
Jan 05
Jan 05

Hi Juliet,

Thanks for sharing Akullo's sad, but very inspiring story. That's awesome that she not only heard an advertisement, but then went for it. She's such an inspiration to her family, friends and community. I'm glad the GBV cycle has stopped in her family because of her, her decisions, and action. It seems like one of the most effective ways to change this behavior is to educate the community that it's the man who determines the gender. Surely this would stop a lot of the abuse toward women for not producing sons; and also to educate them that when women are educated and empowered that they too are just as valued and productive as sons, per Akullo's example? It's so sad that these beliefs get perpetuated, and that so much abuse stems from it, too.

You may want to consider submitting this story for the current "A World Free of Violence" call for stories and/or submit a video, too: https://www.worldpulse.com/en/voices-rising/story-awards/89332

Hope you're doing well, and having a great day!

Juliet Acom
Jan 05
Jan 05

Hi Jill,

It is always a pleasure to hear from you. Thanks for taking time to read Akullo's story and for sharing your thoughts. She truly is an inspiration and a peer in women empowerment.

Thanks for the link, let me submit this story for the awards.
Have a blessed weekend and enjoy

Jill Langhus
Jan 06
Jan 06

Hi Juliet:-)

Thank you! You're very welcome:) My pleasure. Yes, she is!

Good luck! Hope you're having a great day and weekend!

Marie Abanga
Jan 07
Jan 07

Oh My,

What a story here, and the lesson wow. This is resilience in its very essence. And now you send support to that same husband bravo.
Practices like dowry and looking for male heirs are so repugnant now I wonder if our generation should still be propagating them in the first place. I therefore pray none of mama's daughters accept bride price or submit themselves to any ridicule if they can't have sons. Look at what she did/is doing without being a man nor having a son.
God bless Mama

Juliet Acom
Jan 07
Jan 07

Hi Marie,
Thanks for taking the time to read this story and for sharing your thoughts. I imagine if Akullo had not taken this path - how would the husband get medical support????
It's true some cultural beliefs belong to the museum! I will be sure to share the feedback next time I go to Arapai Market

fidelity
Jan 07
Jan 07

what an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it a lesson for us who deal with victim of domestic violence.
good luck Akullo

Juliet Acom
Jan 07
Jan 07

Hi Fidelity,
Thanks for taking time to read it. I will share this feed back with Akullo.
I hope her story inspires someone in a domestic violence situation to stand up for themselves.
God bless you!

obioma nwachukwu
Jan 10
Jan 10

Hi Juli
What an inspiring story. Akullo is one of those women I admire. A woman that can stand firm in times of trials and humiliations especially when it is no fault of hers. Thank God she has come over it. Well done for sharing.
Obioma

Juliet Acom
Jan 20
Jan 20

Hello Obioma,
Thanks for sharing your insight and reading Akullo's story.
She truly is special, forgiveness does not come easy to many of us.
She has beaten the odds. I will share your feedback with het during my next visit.
Thank you

SydPorter
Jan 13
Jan 13

Hi Juliet,

Your story is empowering. I acknowledge the pain that you have gone through but realize that the woman you’ve grown into - one who is capable of supporting the same man who ousted you - is something that money can’t buy. I am a great supporter of women’s financial independence and was so inspired by your entrepreneurial story. Here in the U.S. I hope to remember your story when I go about my work. Thank you for sharing and thank you for going high when others have gone low. Thank you for supporting your girls and encouraging others to be better humans through your actions. Thank you.

Juliet Acom
Jan 20
Jan 20

Hi Syd,
Thank you for these kind words, I am so humbled.
I will share your feedback with Akullo during my next visit so she will know how many hearts she has touched.
Thank you so much

ARREY- ECHI
Jan 14
Jan 14

Hello Juliet,
Thank you for sharing Akullo's story.
Reading it takes me back to a female pork seller in a market I frequent.
I do not know the story around hers but I always respect and make sure I buy from her when I need pork.
Akullo is a true definition of courage and resilence. She inspires and I hope especially her step son would see that and change the narrative.

I also hope communities would do well to educate their people, especially the men that women have no say in the gender of a child. This would go a long way to stop the abuse and insults on many women.

All in all, she is a true definition of what empowering women does.
All the best to her.

Juliet Acom
Jan 20
Jan 20

Hello Arrey,

Thanks for the kind words. Akullo is truly special. I know the lady who you buy pork from has her own story and I do pray she is willing to share it with you and us.

I will share your response with Akullo during my next visit, thanks for taking time to read this story and for sharing your thoughts.