The trailblazing women athletes of Lingira Island, Uganda
December 15, 2009 · Print This Article
by Michelle Mazzeo
Watch this movie about the trailblazing athletes of Lingira Island, Uganda :
As you can see from the video, this team has a lot to bring to Lingira Island. Sadly, the setbacks are far from small. Violence against women is an epidemic on the island. Almost every girl at the island school has engaged in an illegal relationship, been raped or forced into prostitution. Some girls are married off young before being able to finish school. The banality of violence against women is also reflected in the fact that hardly any perpetrators are sent to prison. This in part has to do with woman’s low status in society: most girls and women do not even report violent acts committed against them. In fact, acts of violence against women have become so normal that some mothers have been known to sell their daughters as prostitutes in exchange for a small amount of sugar.
Since this movie was made, EDGE found out that one of the girls on the team was recently defiled. Defilement can mean anything from rape to an inappropriate relationship with a minor. In this particular defilement case, the community raised the funds to send the man to jail and get the girl tested for rape. Because the girl’s family hid her for 5 days after the incident, they were unable to gather conclusive evidence. Regardless, corruption enabled the perpetrator to return to the island after only a couple weeks.
Now is a time to use the foundation that LGFC has created to spur social change against the widespread violence against women. This semester, EDGE interns on the Women’s Empowerment Research Team have been researching methods for making the LGFC a more effective route for empowering young girls. We must urge the community not to give up on investing in its girls– not to fear change. Instead, EDGE is encouraging them to take a firm stance against all of the incidents of violence against girls and women.
The LGFC girls are the future– they must be given opportunity and a voice today in order to change their world for the next generation.
The girls of Lingira need support more than ever, as one of their only productive outlets is being threatened by the violence against women epidemic on the island. We can all make a difference in this situation, by supporting the creation of EDGE Project’s new, comprehensive and sustainable strategic plan that will ensure, through checks and balances, that football is a safe and productive outlet for girls on Lingira Island. See our website for updates: www.wisconsinedgeproject.blogspot.com