By Kanyomozi Rabwoni
A V-Room discussion on Nxt Radio (2pm-4pm) Sunday suddenly reminded me April is the Sexual Awareness month. In our discussion, it became quickly obvious that the challenge of sexual assault is alive and thriving in Uganda still. And when it happens, the victim gets the blame first and most of the time.
Sexual assault is gender crossing crime but I want to focus on sexual assault on women. Studies show that 91% of sexual assault victims are women. Unfortunately when a woman reports that she has been sexually assaulted, the reaction she attracts is not concern.
A woman who has been sexually assaulted is more likely to be asked:
- What was she wearing?
- Why was she out so late?
- Why was she drunk?
- Why did she sleep at that boy’s house?
A debate in the Ugandan parliament to amend the Sexual Harassment Bill brought these issues to the forefront more than ever. There are among our educated leaders in parliament, the people’s representatives, in debating the amendments who noted that but, “Some of these girls dress provocatively.”
Studies, however, show that 90% of the assaulters are known by the victim from a study I found. Scarily, this means that the person most likely to assault a woman could be her father, brother, uncle or other male known to her.
So why are we still teaching that women are the ones to make sure they aren’t raped? Why are we still asking women to take precautions when it is not their fault? Why are we continuously refusing to teach men not to rape?
Men rape, so men and boys should be taught not to rape; a short dress does not mean she’s asking for it or her being drunk is not your invitation to do as you please.
A woman’s body is hers and she makes the decisions so your entitlement holds no power there. A victim is not the cause of assault; it is the assaulter.
Next time you hear a rape story involving a woman, desist from asking what the woman did to get raped and ask about the perpetrator of the crime.