Opinion Article — Reading Senior Superintendent of Police Emilian Kayima’s article in the New Vision about rape and sexual harassment in Uganda clearly gives one a clear picture of what the police actually think about the topic which has gained a lot of attention in the country.
Sexual harassment has become so rampant among women, children and men though in all honesty, the numbers being reported about the cases could be even higher than what’s actually stated.
When I read the article by the Police senior, I expected him to come out with ways in which we could see either decline in the cases or better yet, what the police is planning on doing to get justice for those that are victims of sexual harassment.
When I talk about victims, I mean those who have been harassed or those that have been falsely accused. But alas, reading the article, one wonders what happened when he was writing it, if thought through what he was typing or not.
Mr. Kayima talks boldly about the indecency among women and how their walking makes it hard for men to restrain or how their sitting postures make it hard for them to focus. Meaning that, the reason women get raped is because of how they dress making it their own fault.
The question I ask myself is, Can’t Mr. Kayima walk up to someone and tell them that the way they are seated is inappropriate? or that it is putting him in an usual position? Or rather just ask her to kindly seat properly?
It is sad when you see the law enforcement arm making light of sexual harassment
Such a statement from a law enforcer only fuels the perpetrators need to continue harassing people. Men do dress indecently too and if that were the case, should we say that those men who been harassed was as a result of the way they dress?
Just this January, two cases of young girls being defiled and killed surfaced and now I’m left wondering how indecent these young girls must have been dressed to call upon such a hideous act upon themselves.
The whole topic of dressing indecently irks me to be frank because back in the forties, women wore just enough to cover their bodies. They had no panties and well, their breast were literally out there for everyone else to see which is still the case for some African countries.
Constantly we are rushing to blame victims but repeatedly we are failing to address the real issue which is the perpetrators and their state of mind at the time they commit such violent acts within their communities.
Why in God’s name should one’s figure or dressing be considered as an invitation to touch them or have sex with them if they haven’t told you so. These words seem to indicate that the Police everyone keeps running to help is also unaware of what constitutes rape but I would assume that being a person, one would know that forced sex is a no, no.
Many sexual harassment victims are failing to find justice and help probably because the police itself doesn’t fully understand the subject
Aside from that despite their efforts, on a number of occasions the Police force hasn’t done a great job at helping victims who present cases to them. There have been reports and scenarios where victims report cases to police stations but instead, the officers go ahead to ask them very demeaning questions such as why they were at the abusers home at the time of the incident. Why they were dressed the way they were dressed? Why they drunk so much alcohol?
Seriously? We can do better.
In the case of men, most of them remain silent because they don’t want to be stigmatised or be labeled as complacent because most times they will be asked…“You allowed to be raped by a woman?”, “You allowed to be pinned down by a woman? You are so lucky” kind of statements.
Such statements and more have victims choosing to keep quiet instead of seeking justice. I would expect that Mr. Kayima, as a senior personnel in the police would be more understanding that rape doesn’t know dressing or state that the person is in.
We need to deal with the real issue which is the perpetrators and until then, we are going to continuously fail the victims and have more cases pile up year after year.
A case in point is Nigeria where according to Reuters, Nigerian women have resorted to taking self-defense classes because the rate of sexual harassment is so high and the law enforcement is not doing enough to protect them.
As a country, we need to come up with measures that allow people to freely and openly report cases without the fear of being condemned and also more awareness programs and training’s that inform and educate people about sexual harassment and rape.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!