Community Advocacy against Gender Based Violence is Foundation for Integrated Rural Development strongest niche to ensure that the post conflict communities in northern Uganda are trained, empowered to become community agents and advocates against GBV in the communities where they hail to ensure that peace prevails in these communities
Rose, 39, is a survivor of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war in Northern Uganda who was captured at the age of 23. Rose, who dreamed to be a nurse, had never imagined living in the bush and not sleeping on her bed at any one time of her life, until the LRA killed her parents and captured her.
She dreaded the nights and days she spent in the arms of several rebel gang men who raped her over and over again. This outrageous experience did not only harm her mentally (she lost her memory and had traumatic challenges of remembering things at first) , but also spiritually , emotionally and physically, as her uterus was badly affected.
Rose managed to escape from Opit, where she had been captured, and was rescued by the Uganda Peoples Defense Force (UPDF) to Lira District where she was able to get a job as a shop attendant. Her boss at the new job also mistreated her.
Here, she met her husband, a businessman whom she believed was the man she needed. He could provide support and a place to stay. But she turned out to be wrong; even the man she thought was her “savior” turned out to be abusive. He consistently abused her physically and emotionally, and despite knowing her condition, he still forced her into getting a child.
When she became pregnant, Rose thought of this child as a miracle, because according to the doctors there was no she could have children after her ordeal under the LRA. All she wanted was a safe place to stay for her and her child, so she asked the doctors to ensure that happened. Unfortunately, she suffered more health complications after delivering her child, which led to the removal of her womb.
A New Begginning:
After her tragedy of dealing with the fact that she would never give birth again, Rose believed that she had a role to play as a community advocate to ensure that the women, men, boys and girls were educated on the negative impact of having violent homes and communities.
She moved to the community of Agweng where she was identified as a GVB survivor by the Foundation for Integrated Rural Development (FIRD). Because she had no house , place, or food ,psychosocial support, she got the help of the community leadership. Counseling, above all, was something that helped her in regaining her confidence as a woman.
She is now a beneficiary of FIRD’s livelihood project for SGBV survivors, which ensures that she has an income to support herself, her child and other orphans that she takes care of in her household. Because she wanted to do more, Rose also volunteered to be part of the community activist agents in ensuring that the information she attained from FIRD’s trainings on GBV was shared with the community targeting women, men, boys and girls.
She also been elected as the women’s leaders in the church which has further helped her to talk and counsel young girls who have been forced into violent marriages, boys and men who are violent, and other women and girls who have been abducted by the rebels and returned to the community. With her new position in the church, the community has learnt to accept and respect her. Before They stigmatized against her as a returnee from the bush who could not make any positive change to the community. But she clearly proved them wrong