Intimate Partner Violence Among Queer Women in Northern Uganda

This lesbian visibility week, it is important to bring visibility to issues affecting lesbians that people ignore or know nothing of. In such a week when the whole world is looking at us , is when we should be loudest! Lesbians face Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Gender Based Violence and mental health issues. For us to decide to only speak on the positive during this week gives the world an impression that we are okay which makes our issues watered down when we share.

Our correspondent from Lira, Barbara Apio shared a story of a lesbian woman facing domestic violence in northern Uganda confided in her.

My partner Sky and I (Carol) have been together for close to four years, our love has been magical and makes me have butterflies every time that I see her. As everyone in love says, “I love you to the moon and back,” what I feel for Sky is more than that. We have three children, two girls and a baby boy who is one year old.

Sky is a bit of an alcoholic but she is always in denial. During her sober times, Sky sings Human Rights observation and respect and is always against violence. Damn!!!! Who wouldn’t fall in love with such a person with their sweet soliloquies on human rights, you feel like wow, this is the place to be, she will respect mine as well.

But the truth of the matter is that she does not. She is only vocal about human rights, she does not care who she hurts when drunk and her excuse the next morning is always defensive and non-apologetic. Words like, Yes, I hit you but you saw it coming, you shouldn’t have come closer to me at that moment are the songs she sings.

Sky finally did what she has always desired to do, she hit me, and she hit me so hard that my body hurt for weeks. I couldn’t go to the hospital. All I was worried about at that moment is, what do I tell the doctor, “That my girlfriend hit me?” No, Uganda is not yet there. I couldn’t talk to a friend either because I thought she was going to do it again.
The kind of safety that I felt when with Sky is no more, I want to stay away from her but then I ask myself, what will my life without her look like? What will I tell my baby girl when she asks for Mummy Sky? I don’t want to hurt my baby either.
Turns out the beating wasn’t the first me she violated me. Sky doesn’t want me to have friends and relatives visit us either, at first I thought it was sexy but turns out she wanted to isolate me, manipulate and control my life so that she can do to me as she wishes.

“My mind is racing with thoughts of how I have always ignored the red flags, how I should have listened to my friends but I didn’t. I wish I had listened to myself, but now it’s late, the harm has already been done. How do I trust her again? Sometimes I feel like hitting her back in my sleep.” Carol said with tears rolling out her eyes.