For these reasons we felt that the introduction of personal alarms into Ugandan society could be a temporary intervention towards violence prevention. We do however always emphasise that the alarm does not guarantee anybody’s safety, and that it does not put the onus on a woman to defend herself. It is merely an extra precaution which women can have the option to take if they are feeling vulnerable or unsafe. We distribute the alarms as part of a one day workshop where we also discuss self-esteem, assertiveness and consent.
In 2014-2015, we conducted a series of focus groups to gather research on male attitudes in Uganda with regards to equality and gender based violence. We led discussions on role models, gender roles, violence and cultural traditions. With this information we have been working on developing a curriculum which we are excited to start delivering in 2017.
At AND, we strongly believe that men should be included in efforts to end gender based violence. We must take into account learned behaviours and social structures rather than dismissing men as merely perpetrators.
By running these workshops we are equipping men with the information and tools to become agents of change in their own communities and become advocates of gender equality and non-violence.
In Uganda, violent crime is common and women are often the target. With this in mind, we felt it was important that we address personal safety of women in Kampala. Our initiative originated from the discovery of personal alarms which can be attached to a person’s keys and have an extremely loud alarm integrated. Once activated, the alarm is very difficult to stop as it requires replacing a small pin into the main body of the alarm. In darkness and especially in a rushed and high pressure situation this can be nearly impossible to do even for the user themselves, let alone a perpetrator. From our research we have discovered this tool to be highly effective in Uganda for the following reasons:.
Soroptomist International Aylesbury Division have supported us with the purchase of 100 further personal alarms to Attacked Not Defeated (AND), after their initial contribution to this project in 2014. Their support allows us to push forward our Personal Safety Initiative and to continue to create positive and practical change to the lives of women.
1) The alarm has an LED torch attached. Street lighting in Uganda is seldom found and so this very simple measure can make a big difference to the safety of an individual walking alone.
2) The sudden sound of an ear piercing alarm is very likely to deter a potential perpetrator from carrying out an opportunist attack, for fear of being punished by the community or the police.
3) In areas where street crime is highest, people tend to live within extremely close proximity to each other, for instance in slum and ghetto areas. This increases the probability that an activated alarm may actually be heard by a neighbour.