A Ugandan newspaper has been forced to apologise after offering women the chance to win a bottle of wine – in return for their stories of abuse.
The Daily Monitor, the country’s largest paper, called for victims of “sexual harassment or gender-based violence” to tweet their stories.
In return, one “lucky” person would win “a luxurious bottle of wine”.
The post is particularly insensitive in a country where domestic and sexual violence is a significant problem.
According to a government report published last year, more than one in five women aged 15-49 have experienced domestic or sexual violence in Uganda.
But the newspaper says a recent report indicates a much higher number: 51% of Ugandan women will reportedly experience physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
‘Bruises or tears?’
Women’s rights group Femme Forte condemned the newspaper “for portraying such a painful experience as a competition of sorts”.
“People should tell their stories because they are comfortable to do so and not because there is a bottle of wine to be won,” the US-based group wrote on their Facebook page.
“We applaud your effort to tell the story but have reservations on the avenue of a competition being used.
“How for example will you determine the winner of this wine. Will it be that person who cried the most, or the one who had the most bruises?”
Other people have hit out at the editors who authorised the competition without thinking, while one woman, tweeting under the handle @AkiteMay1, noted scathingly: “I was beginning to worry that the person who tweeted must have drank the bottle of wine already,” she wrote.
The newspaper has now tweeted its own apology
“@DailyMonitor’s intention has never been to celebrate gender-based violence or sexual harassment,” it wrote on Twitter. “We apologise for any misunderstanding this post might have caused. We have therefore deleted it.”
But readers are still unimpressed.
Amutuhaire Fathil (@AhabFay) tweeted: “This just won’t go away with a tweeted apology. Whatever is posted online, lives forever. The screenshot of that tweet [is] all over WhatsApp groups.”