We should take steps to fight rape
Posted Monday, October 14 2013 at 01:00
We must take steps to fight this crime. A country cannot claim to be peaceful when its citizens, mostly women, live in constant fear of being attacked by rapists...
The story of a young woman who was gang-raped in Kampala is a chilling but familiar episode that has become unacceptably common in our society. Stringent measures must be taken; otherwise this despicable crime casts a deep gloom on how this country handles rape cases.
The Sunday Monitor recounted the anguish of the 23-year-old victim, gang-raped and sodomised by five men. The suspects – Pakistani nationals who claim to be investors in Uganda - lured her into their trap under the guise of a job. What follows after she was supposedly taken for ‘training’ for the new job is inhumane and disgraceful. Her supposed employer would organise his friends to gang-rape.
That the victim managed to escape, report the crime to police and seek medical care, is a welcome relief. She is lucky to have been brave enough to seek justice. Many cases go unreported. According to Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Felix Kaweesa, police received reports that many Ugandan girls are being subjected to acts of sexual violence in city suburbs such as Bunga, Kiwatule and Muyenga.
Part of the reason some victims suffer in silence is the behaviour of corrupt police officers who take bribes from suspects to hide files and frustrate cases. The gang-rape victim said she got information that a police officer shelved her file after the suspects gave him a car.
Another problem is the attitude of callously blaming victims for inciting the violence. A case in point is when a junior minister recently made public remarks that when a rape victim is wearing a miniskirt, the suspect should be set free because she invited the crime. And yet, rape is on the increase as reflected in the 2012 Annual Crime report where at least 8,076 defilement cases were registered the past year compared to 7,690 reported in 2011.
This horrendous crime reflects a worrying development in Uganda. Newspapers carry regular reports on rape; many run as brief stories, horrific cases such as the recent rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl and the Kiwatule gang-rape case, make it to the front pages. These extreme cases attract national attention and widespread condemnation but often, that is where it ends. Time to take action is now.
As a country, we must take steps to fight this crime. A country cannot claim to be peaceful when its citizens, mostly women, live in constant fear of being attacked by rapists and murderers.