Male survivors responding to sexual violence in Uganda

The aim of this case study is to explore, analyse and document the role of men in collective action in response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the context of experiencing violence, oppression, stigmatisation and marginalisation, including as refugees.

Few studies on men’s role in SGBV focus on men as survivors of gender-based violence and indeed do not even recognise the possibility of their victimisation. Male refugees in Uganda who have been the victims of rape and/or have witnessed the rape of female family members and kin, have a unique perspective on gender-based violence from a position of both experience of victimisation and marginalisation on other grounds, such as ethnicity and sexuality. It is of note that men’s experience of sexual violence by other men can in many countriesincluding Uganda result in them being (mis)perceived as homosexual, which can result in further victimisation and stigmatisation.

Documentation of the role of local level activism in the work of the Refugee Law Project in Uganda shows that peer support groups play a critical role in the process of emotional and psychological healing for male survivors of sexual violence (Dolan 2014b). Support groups have helped address the isolation and marginalisation of men who have experienced sexual violence. The relationships established through the networks have contributed to a sense of community and belonging. Group solidarity and shared understanding has also enabled survivors to politicise their experience and raise their voices in building awareness of the issue and mobilising a response. This study proposes to explore this approach through the adoption of a feminist analytical framework of empowerment through critical consciousness coupled with collective action.

Male survivors of sexual violence in Uganda share their experiences

The Bench

This docu-drama, conceived and acted by members of the refugee support group "Men of Hope", and based on true stories, captures the multiple challenges refugees face while trying to access services in their host country, Uganda.

Unbearable Experiences

A short video directed and produced in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Isingiro District, Uganda, by “Men of Peace”, an association of male survivors of conflict-related sexual violence based in the settlement.