I’m dismayed and alarmed by what appears to be an overwhelming rise in reported cases of sexual assault and rape of female university students across university campuses in Uganda and calls for attention to the need to take action to stem this trend urgently. It is pertinent to state here that the vast majority of cases of sexual violence against female university students in Uganda go unreported for various reasons associated with victim shaming, stigma, character assassination, public backlash and limited access to justice for victims. In many cases, female students who have reported such cases have been subsequently targeted for reprisal attacks by thugs, cultists or university teachers.
It is important for Ugandan educational institutions to have clear and enforceable policies regarding sexual harassment and other forms of abuse of female students. However, it is even more important that national laws against these types of crimes be enforced and the perpetrators brought to book for their crimes. Apparently, the police and other law enforcement agencies are failing in their duties–it is their job to protect the integrity and safety of all Ugandan, including especially vulnerable groups. The continued sexual abuse of girls and women reflects poorly on us as a people and it is time for us to speak up.
BY MAYIMUNA NABAGEREKA