Cultural practices cited in the rise of sexual violence

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Members of Parliament on the Select Committee investigating allegations of sexual violence in schools and institutions of learning have learnt that bad cultural practices are responsible for the high level of sexual harassment of girls in the districts of Bundibugyo and Ntoroko.

The committee, which was meeting the leadership of Bundibugyo district was told that girls as young as 10 years are married off, which is illegal according to the laws of Uganda.

Hon. Katusabe Godfrey (Bukonjo County) reminded the leaders and people of Bundibugyo that Uganda is governed according to the Constitution and called for adherence to the laws of the land which stipulates that a person below 18 years is a minor and should not get married.

“We have realized that people here think that a girl above 10 years is mature enough to be married; this must stop immediately because it’s a total breach of the Constitution,” he said.

Katusabe called on parents to stop using cultural excuses which, he said “have been a road block to future doctors, teachers and leaders because children defiled or married off automatically drop out of school”.

Kioga County MP, Hon. Anthony Okello, pointed out that matters related to sexual harassment in institutions of learning are a result of bad cultural practices which have superseded the Uganda Constitution.

“The Constitution was promulgated in 1995 but 23 years later, cultural practices here seem to be stronger than what the constitution states,” he said.

Hon. Gideon Onyango (Samia Bugwe North) put the blame on the porous border saying that “sexual offenders abuse children in Uganda and run to the Democratic Republic of Congo”.

The Select Committee is traversing other regions of the country as they investigate allegations of sexual violence in schools and other institutions of higher learning.

On 12th April 2018, Hon. Adeke Anna Ebaju, the National Female Youth Representative, presented a motion for a resolution of Parliament urging government to inquire into allegations of sexual misconduct in Ugandan schools.

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