KAMPALA – Legislators subscribing to the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) and Civil Society have launched a campaign dubbed “My Body, My Consent” aimed at fighting the increasing sexual violence in Uganda.
Addressing the media at Parliament, the National Youth MP, Ann Adeke Ebaju who also doubles as Chairperson of the Youth Parliamentary Affairs Association said that the campaign will focus on seeking justice against perpetrators of sex crimes including rapists and defilers, among others.
The development comes at the time when a number of Ugandans both male and female took to social media and narrated their rape ordeal, further exposing loopholes into the justice system in the country.
Adeke said that the experiences by the brave Ugandans left the national leaders shocked by the failure of the country’s justice systems to provide justice hence the need to launch a campaign that a joint action against all forms of sexual assault that has been committed against the women and girls in the country.
“Because we recognize they need psychosocial support, which we are able to provide so kindly, if you are out there and you have been violated, please get in touch, not necessarily so that you record statement to the Police, but to get support,” said Adeke.
She added that UWOPA and the Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum-Uganda can’t afford to continue watching even after there are actions of bravery of survivors willing to talk about the heinous crimes.
According to the team, the two bodies will provide legal and psychosocial support to victims of rape and sexual assault and publicly condemning sexual violence in all its forms by encouraging the victims to speak up, naming and shaming the perpetrators of sexual assault and rape.
Adeke said, “And with your consent, we shall be able to pursue the matter. It is something we are going to venture into because we are exploring the chances of going for a public interest litigation suit that will be spearheaded by me on behalf of all the victims.”
She also revealed plans by MPs to table a motion on the floor asking Parliament to pass the Sexual Offences Bill before end of the month because it is the only adequate law that can curb the vices and give justice to the survivors.
Jovah Kamateeka (Mitoma Woman MP), said that it is so absurd that rape has been normalized in the country and victims are always further victimized.
According to the 2018 Uganda Police Crime report, there were 14,985 defilement & 1,335 rape cases reported and of those reported rape cases, 396 cases were taken to court, six ended in conviction and 375 are still pending with more than 600 are still being investigated.
On the other hand, a total of 4,651 defilement cases were taken to court, out of which 609 led to convictions, and 3,704 cases were still pending.
The report also highlighted that more than 60% of the cases in Uganda’s criminal courts are sexual violence cases.