Spending years in Africa I grew very weary about the cheap slogan ‘Every girl has to go to school’. Every girl should learn how to read and write yes, but going to school? This is why:
Uganda: Homosexual Defilement and Rape Should Be Dealt With Too
By Cato N. Lund
I was taken back to Saturday August 2, 2008 by the editorial in Daily Monitor of May 9. The main front page banner of Saturday Vision that day was a figure in large and bold print: “40 000, the number of primary school girls defiled by their teachers in one year”. It referred to a recent survey but unfortunately, I don’t remember who had performed it.
Some years later another survey, by the World Health Organisation (WHO), brought out other figures on annual occurrences in Uganda: 700, 000 unwanted pregnancies, 300,000 abortions, and 68,000 women dying from complications caused by illegal and unsafe abortions, 700,000 unwanted pregnancies take-away 300,000 abortions makes 400,000 unwanted children. That is a substantial number denied the first and basic right of any child: to be welcome.
Then 12,077 defilement cases were reported and investigated in 2014 according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos).
The above figures indicate that this is just the tip of an iceberg. The actual size of the iceberg is difficult to assess, many cases go unreported because they are “settled out of court” by the perpetrator paying a sum of money to the parents or giving some other compensation.
Alternatively, he uses his position to intimidate the victim and her parents to keep silent and drop the case completely.
Together with common lack of confidence in the police, assuming nothing will be done unless reporting of the case comes together with some “facilitation”, this results in skewed statistics.
Defilement is ultimately punishable by death under the Ugandan law; if anything demonstrates the futility of capital punishment as a deterrent, this must be one of the most glaring examples.
To the number of primary school girls defiled by their teachers, add those suffering the same fate in secondary schools, in their families and the villages, and we will arrive at a staggering figure, say 60,000 as a conservative estimate. That means seven girls are defiled per hour, 24/7.
UBOS’ 2014 crime table also records 1,099 cases of reported rape. Again I am quite sure we only see the tip of a huge iceberg.
Victims fail to report because of unwarranted shame, fear of bigotry, stigma and blame, difficulty of bringing material evidence to support her narrative, and numerous other reasons.
It may be a very conservative supposition, having the number of unwanted pregnancies in mind, to assume four unreported cases for each that is reported, so the actual number comes to five times the one given in the table, or 5,495, more than 15 per day through the year.
Much energy, indignation and effort has been invested in protecting our children from bad influence.
It is certainly good to shield them from sexual predators, but consider this, the number of homosexuals in any human population is deemed to be between two and 10 per cent, if we go for the lower estimate in Uganda, we remain with 98 per cent heterosexuals. Nothing indicates that the rate of sexual predation is different in these groups, so the risk that such a predator is heterosexual is 49 times bigger than him being homosexual. As for the cases of rape, there is not much doubt regarding the sexual orientation of the perpetrator.
Comparing the expressions of moral ire, religious and legal zeal to deal with homosexuality with the reactions to heterosexual defilement and rape, shows an incredible level of hypocrisy. It is like the reasoning is: “I’m not homosexual but the rapist could have been me, so let us downplay the latter and raise commotion over the first”. In a patriarchal society women are submissive so they keep silent and ask their own husbands at home.