Uganda. Student gains courage, stands up to her tormentors

Date 16.02.2021

Joan (fictional name) is a reserved girl from a family with seven children. At 16 years of age she has encountered many challenges to stay in school. “On my way to school, a group of boys always mocked me asking who I thought I was to think I will complete my education.” she says.

The disruptive boys often tried to lure her to isolated spaces but she turned them down. Some would occasionally tail her home, something she told her mother about. “I told mum about the boys and one day she sternly warned them to back off. Only one did as the rest persisted.” Joan explains.

When Joan enrolled into No Means No, a six months program (October 2020 – March 2021) funded by No Means No Worldwide, she was taught how to skilfully defend herself, use her voice to scream for help and how to lie to her assailants. It did not take long for her to put to use what she had learnt.

No Means No Worldwide is a global rape prevention organization whose mission is to end sexual violence against women and children.

2021. Uganda - No Means No Project Joan 4
2021. Uganda - No Means No Project Joan 1
2021. Uganda - No Means No Project Joan 2

“One morning on my way to school, two boys hiding by a shrub jumped in front of me, dragging me away. I screamed for help with all my strength, a woman passing by heard my cry and came to my rescue. She scolded the boys and they ran away; they’ve never followed me since.” Joan narrated this ordeal to her mother, who advised her to avoid that path and other abandoned roads for her security.

“My best module was self-defense, I learnt how to kick the knee cap to immobilize attackers so I can flee.” she tells. Joan now travels to school and to the water well with friends. She is always alert because rape can happen to anyone at any time.

About No Means No Program

The No Means No Program is a six months program (October 2020 – March 2021) funded by No Means No Worldwide. The goal of the program is to create a rape free world.

AVSI is implementing the activities of the program in Bufumbo, Bungokho and Busoba sub counties, in Eastern Uganda to reach 1,300 girls aged 9-17 and 1,150 boys aged 10-20 to improve their verbal and physical skills in preventing sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence among girls while reshaping boys’ harmful beliefs around gender and sexuality

  • creating awareness among local Governments, care givers, other community members
  • mobilizing target youths in the communities,
  • identifying and verifying safe spaces for session delivery,
  • forming youth groups according to their age units and session delivery,
  • field visits and program assessments.

Improved network referral System

  • Mapping referral services available in the community to provide support for post-violence care and holding end of month meetings with instructors, government structures and other gender-based violence prevention service providers.

Having survivors in recovery anonymous (SIRA program) beneficiaries with emotional and psychological wellbeing

  • Mobilizing youths who have disclosed violence and require support to form SIRA groups by instructors trained in SIRA, drawing SIRA meeting schedules, identifying and verifying safe spaces for meetings and follow up on SIRA beneficiaries.