‘Pass sexual offences Bill’
Posted Sunday, September 22 2013 at 01:00
On Monday September 9, 2013, Uganda woke up to the gruesome murder of a nine—year-old Hanisha Nambi who was defiled, strangled and her lifeless body dumped in an abandoned house in Kawempe.
Nisha, as she was commonly known, is now the face of the increasing cases of rape and defilement for women and young girls if the police crime reports since 2011 are anything to go by. This, therefore, speaks for the need to address violence against women specifically sexual violence. More than 197 cases of sexual violence and defilement have been reported in the media between June and September 2013, and the annual police crime report of 2011 shows that 7,690 cases of rape and defilement were reported, yet sexual violence continues.
Many blame it on alcohol and drug use while others put the blame on women and young girls for being skimpily dressed or for walking alone at night. Men are very sane beings with a conscious mind and it is not fair to assume that they have the propensity to rape on the pretext that a woman or girl is ‘skimpily’ dressed.
The reason men rape women and girls are:
• Males wanting to dominate and control women’s bodies,
• Expression of power through humiliation of the helpless persons,
• No consequences for the offenders which breeds impunity,
• Humiliation and stigmatisation of the victim leads to silence on the part of the victim and most family members.
There are many men who have not raped or defiled therefore, rape is not inevitable, but rather are a result of learned attitudes and behaviours from a society.
As Members of Parliament and citizens the empowering actions are: • Demand that you Member of Parliament Passes/ supports the Sexual Offences Bill when brought to the floor of Parliament.
• Government Works towards enabling funding for implementation of laws such as the Domestic Violence Act, Female Genital Mutilation Act and Trafficking in Persons Act that work towards preventing violence against women and girls.
• Publicly condemn rape and defilement and call upon the leaders, those affected and the public to break the silence.
• Follow up with law enforcers i.e. police and the judicial system to ensure that they conduct timely investigations, adjudication and enforcement of court rulings.
The stick that the MPs should use is to ensure that the sexual offences Bill is passed. Diana Kagere Mugerwa is the programme officer at National Advocacy Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention.