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.