KAMPALA – A new law has been forwarded to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for scrutiny by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga that for the first time seeks to criminalise sexual harassment in the country.
Dubbed ‘The Sexual Offences Bill 2019’, the bill seeks to make acts of sexual assault criminal in Section 6 with one barred from engaging another person in a sexual manner against their will.
The Bill highlights that if a person forcefully either directly or indirectly gets in contact with the anus, breasts, penis, buttocks, thighs or vagina of that person or exposure or display of his or her genital organs to another person or with intention to insult his or her modesty of that other person is guilty of sexual assault.
The Bill further outlaws uttering any word or making any sound that is heard or making a gesture or that object shall be seen by that person or intrudes upon the privacy of such a person commits a misdemeanour and is liable upon conviction to a term of imprisonment to a period not less than one year.
Section 7 of the bill takes the fight against sexual harassment within workplaces seeks stipulating that one is guilty of sexual harassment if they makes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favours or engages in verbal or physical conduct of any nature and where submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of someone’s employment.
One is also guilty of sexual harassment if submission to or rejection of such conduct an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such an individual.
The bill also stipulates that a person is guilty of sexual harassment where the conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating intimidation hostile or offensive working environment.
Tabled by Monicah Amoding (Kumi Woman), the legislator proposed that upon conviction by courts of law, the offender is liable for imprisonment for not less than two years or fine of 48 currency points which is equivalent to Shs960,000.
Further, section 5 of the Sexual Offences Bill 2019 discusses dragging, where it highlights that if one administers a substance with intent of committing sexual act or any person who intentionally, applies a substance r causes a substance to be taken by someone knowing the person doesn’t consent with the intention of inducing, stupefying, overpowering that person so as to enable another person perform a sexual offence