Do we have rape crisis in the country?

Worrying. The Police Crime Report for 2015 indicates that at least 1,419 cases of rape were reported countrywide. This rose to 1,572 in 2016, but dropped to 1,335 in 2017, and rising to 1,580 cases in 2018. COURTESY PHOTO

What you need to know:

Trend. Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention says in 2018, at least 644 cases were taken to court, and 16 secured convictions, with one case acquitted, seven dismissed and 620 cases pending, with 618 still under investigations, writes Tom Malaba.

The Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP) believe that big shots in society are worse culprits of rape but escape the long arm of the law because their victims fear to be stigmatised.
CEDOVIP executive director Tina Musuya revelation follows last week’s naming and shaming of alleged rapists by young ladies and gentlemen over social media.

Social media hype?
Ms Musuya dismisses assertions that rape is unfounded social media creation and buzz.
She says rape is a serious societal problem that must be confronted head on.
“Rape is wide spread, rape is happening from close relatives, cousins, fathers and neighbours,” Ms Musuya says.

She says rape is ubiquitous and takes place at work places, in churches, in cars, marital homes, and hospitals.
Worryingly, the Police Crime Report for 2015 indicates that at least 1,419 cases of rape were reported countrywide. This rose to 1,572 in 2016, but dropped to 1,335 in 2017, and rising to 1,580 cases in 2018.
CEDOVIP says in 2018, at least 644 cases were taken to court, and 16 secured convictions, with one case acquitted, seven dismissed and 620 cases pending, with 618 still under investigations. But Ms Musuya says this is only a tip of the iceberg.

Power imbalance and stigma
She says although many more ladies have been raped, most of them fear to come-out and accuse the perpetrators because in most cases the perpetrators have authority over their victims.
“If it’s a workplace, many victims fear to lose their jobs, and in a church, they fear nobody will believe them,” says Ms Musuya.
“We have stories where young girls were given a lift to work and they are driven to a dark place where they were raped. So when someone says they have been raped, let us not blame them, let’s us believe them,” Ms Musuya says, saying this move will help the victims to speak out.
She says society usually blames the victim for either dressing badly, or going out late.

Ms Musuya says society puts a lot of burden on the victim compared to the perpetrator and that has to change.
The spokesperson at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Mr Charles Twine, agrees that few victims of rape report to police.
“Victims of rape, especially the corporate type, rarely report cases of rape to police,” Mr Twine says.

Police, doctors complicity
The CEDOVIP executive director blames some police officers and medical officers for the failure to report rape cases.
“Some rape cases have gone unreported because some police officers doubt the integrity of the victims. Even some medical personnel do not want to examine victims because they do not want to be called to court to give evidence,” she says.
Ms Musuya also slams some police officers for using rape cases to solicit bribes from perpetrators.
She called on government to have a witness protection programme to protect victims against perpetrators because sometimes they (perpetrators) intimidate their victims.

Sex education
Ms Musuya says rape usually starts as sexual harassment and urged parents to teach their children sex education.
“Sex education for children is a must, you are just giving them information to stay safe,” she says, adding: “Let children know the hazards that comes with sex. So that they can stay safe.”
But Mr Twine insists that for more perpetrators to be punished, victims of rape must report perpetrators to police to enable the force investigate the cases. He says some victims do not report because they do not know they were raped. He says going by the definition of rape, which is a sexual act performed on any woman against her consent, sometimes the consent is executed by deception.

“This consent can be forced on a woman or it can be consent by deception. If someone is asking for sex before giving you a job that is consent by deception and its rape,” he says. Mr Twine urges victims who were duped into having sex to realise that they were raped and could file complaints at police.
He says witch doctors are known for using deception to get sexual pleasures with claims that they are administering herbs on their victims.

Dedicated detectives
Mr Twine assures the victims that if they come out and make complaints at police, their cases would be investigated.
“CID headquarters has trained a formidable team of detectives under the Sexual and Gender based Violence (SGBV) department to investigate all rape cases anywhere in the country,” he says.
Mr Twine says after making complaints, victims should expect that they will undergo a medical examination.
“During examination, police seek to harvest medical evidence that the assailant might have left on the victim like traces of blood, fibre or semen for DNA analysis and matching,” Mr Twine reveals.

Forensic evidence
The directorate spokesperson says the Government Analytical Laboratory (GAL) has improved its turn-around of medical evidence results within two weeks. “There is no single piece of evidence that can be used to prove a case, it is a combination and corroboration of pieces of evidence that is why the victim must be examined at the earliest opportunity, so that medical evidence is not washed away,” Mr Twine emphasises.

He says the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has boosted rape case investigations by allocating a special State Attorney to peruse files and give legal advice in cases related to rape.”
The Director Police Medical Service, and an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP), Dr Moses Byaruhanga, says police had 28 Police surgeons who examine rape victims on Police Form 3 as amended.
“It’s easy for rape victims to access free medical examination because government has given medical doctors, clinical officers (medical assistants) and registered midwives the authority to examine rape victims at any government facility,” Dr Byaruhanga says.

He says victims examined in private clinics have to pay for the service offered.
Dr Byaruhanga maintains that this examination must be conducted at the earliest possible time before evidence is washed away.
“This examination should be done within 72 hours to protect victims against unwanted pregnancy, detect and treat sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea, and for purposes of administering post-prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection,” Dr Byaruhanga says.

He says this also makes it easy for a medical personnel to counsel the victims.
“Medical evidence is very important to prove a case of sexual assault,” Dr Byaruhanga says.
When doctors find traces of semen or blood in the victim, it is harvested for DNA analysis and matching.
But Dr Byaruhanga says police surgeons usually find a problem to examine educated victims of rape.
He claims they fear to be examined because their intimate privacy will be violated.

Year Cases reported
2018 1,580
2017 1,335
2016 1,572
2015 1,419

Source: Annual Police Crime Reports


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