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Abused, Kiraso finds courage to tell it all

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Making A Difference by Beatrice KirasoOften, one will hear it said that one shouldn’t wash their dirty linen in public.

There would be some sort of consolation if it were that the saying was being copycatted from colonial heritage, in Uganda’s case.

But alas, among the most dominant community, Baganda, a similar warning exists – Eby’Omunju Tebitotolwa. And just as well, a variation of the same can be found in nearly every other community in the country.

The occasion that usually summons this caution always has to do with someone publicly discussing intimate family matters, especially if they are potentially shameful.


So, if, for instance, a woman is constantly battered by her husband, she’s not to talk about it, not even to report it to police, because it happens in the confines of their privacy and only the two of them know sure well the finer details of how it comes about.

The subtext of this thinking is usually that the victim is a participant in some way and so he or she can’t be wholly sinned against.

Whatever the argument, this much is true: there comes a time when someone can’t bottle up abuse anymore and no amount of argument of caution makes sense anymore.

Beatrice Kiraso is the latest such person in a long list of women who muster the courage to put an end to pain and humiliation meted out to them by the men they once loved, or even still do.

Courage, of course, is not easy and the much-needed empathy is usually elusive. Many will recall the brouhaha former VP Specioza Wandira Kazibwe touched off in 2002 when she revealed she was divorcing her husband because he constantly battered her.

The husband denied the allegation, claiming he’d only slapped her twice, and only because of insubordination.

The public was evenly divided about her with as many people in support of her as those against.

The former argued she neither deserved it nor had to die in silence while the latter felt she was washing her dirty linen in public when she could ably handle it with her man. The worst are those who thought she had brought it upon herself.

For anyone who might not know Kiraso, she’s an elegant and a highly successful woman. Some find her attractive.

A graduate of Harvard, she’s held several offices in finance, been a member of parliament and is currently in charge of fast tracking the East African Community’s political federation.

If anyone saw her strolling down the street, or found her sipping a glass of wine, or better yet taking a reading at a church service, it would be incomprehensible to imagine any man raising his hand against her.

What’s even more difficult to understand is how, with her level of accomplishment, she’d tolerate it even once. Yet as they say, looks can be deceptive. In Kiraso, the saying couldn’t be truer.

As she reveals it in Making A Difference, her newly self-published near tell-all autobiography, she, surprisingly, not only let it happen but she also tolerated it for the better part of her four-year marriage.

To be sure, her story will certainly remain incomplete until her husband (it’s not clear from the book if they formally divorced) gives his account. As the Christian faith she professes cautions, someone who present’s one’s case first seems right, until someone else appears only to challenge it.

But as she tells her side, it’s a heart wrenching account of a progressive, loving, understanding and tolerant woman, who had the misfortune of marrying a man beholden to his mother (or mama’s boy in modern speak) and increasingly grew insecure with her woman’s career growth. The only way he found to deal with it was to assert his masculinity, albeit in an abusive way.

Kiraso’s account, as it stands, will return debate to two otherwise old queries about which varied responses have been offered: firstly, why accomplished women, in every sense imaginable, find it so difficult to easily extricate themselves from abusive relationships; and, why some men feel insecure when their women grow in stature and influence.

To the former, shame and embarrassment that accompany such revelations is seen as simply being not easy to deal with. Only at the risk of death does a woman find the requisite courage to break free.

The downside of maintaining silence is mainly two-fold: firstly, it perpetuates the vice and threatens the life of the victim. Consequently, some people caught up in abusive relationships have been gravely harmed, irreversibly affected emotionally and psychologically, and the extremely unlucky have lost their lives. Kiraso hasn’t died, of course, but every other effect on an abusive relationship is true with her.

Secondly, unreported violence among the elite and middleclass erroneously reinforces the view that such behaviour is a characteristic of the poor who supposedly have nothing to lose.

But even if only poor people report domestic violence, it’s a problem whose prevalence is ten times more than HIV/Aids. Available stats show over 68 per cent of the population have experienced domestic violence, against 6-7 per cent of those who report HIV/Aids. Yet the latter attracts more money, effort and sympathy than the former.

In Kiraso, campaigners against domestic violence have a newfound, albeit unofficial, ambassador to tout. Their work, however, remains as arduous as ever.


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written by patrick , February 20, 2012
Beatrice kiraso ur a liar that book is full of lies all u did was write everything else but the truth.be honest for once.ur nothin but a liar and ur trash will be put out soon.
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written by patrick , February 20, 2012
That man treated u with respect and dignity and all u did was mistreat his kids and his family dont think we dont know who u are.u pretend to the public to be an angel but ur more evil than people know u.
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her story will certainly remain incomplete until her husband (it’s not clear from the book if they formally divorced) gives his account.
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