Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape”

“How many laws have been passed enhancing the protection of women and girls in Uganda?” In case any, are they effective enough? Are the law enforcers effectively helping in the fight? Why is sexual violation (rape) more in minors? What are the effects of leaving out other rape cases unattended to, say in lesbian, bisexual, queer women, transgender women girls and sex workers?

“Why 16 days of Activism?”

The 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence(GBV) is a global campaign which begins on November 25th and ends on December 10th every year. This helps to continuously remind the world of the endless need to end violence against women and girls across the world.

In Uganda, various organisations and individual human rights defenders, activists and feminists have taken the lead using different avenues to sending out messages on ending gender based violence. Gender based Violence, could be sexual (rape, assault, harassment), physical or/and emotional.

A good job has been registered in creating awareness on sexual violence in some affected regions. Different joint on-going programmes on sexual gender based violence have registered positive results. However, despite the registered achievement, a lot more work remains to be done to ensure a violence-free country for all women and girls in Uganda.

All over the world, women are commemorating the 16 days of activism against violence on women and girls. This year we take the stand yet against rape. However, I will also talk about defilement because statistics show that sexual violation on minors is high in our country.

Rape is penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth without consent or penetration of any body part without consent.

Defilement is a sexual act with a child or minor under the age of 18 years old, whether or not with the child’s consent.

Despite the presence of laws and policies on rape and defilement- laws that specifically protect the victims, statistics show that violence against women and girls is on rise in Uganda. According to the Police annual report of 2018 (compared to that of 2017), an increase in the sexual gender based violence cases was registered. We all need to remember that many cases are not reported due to different fears.

Most rape victims remain silent due to different factors like; embarrassment, poverty, shame, delay or no justice, depending on the person who has committed the offence and some because of society beliefs. Many cases are also not handled also due to corruption.

The law enforcers in some areas have greatly contributed negatively to the campaign in some areas. Society norms and beliefs are also factors still affecting some areas of the country because of ignorance; meaning that there is more need to dismantle these norms for a free and better society for our girl child in the future.

According to the annual Police report on sex related crimes registered in 2017; 15,093 were registered and in 2018, 17,521 were registered indicating a rise in the acts. Rape cases registered at police in 2017 were1,335 and 1,580 in 2018. Defilement cases reported, also increased from 14,985 in 2017 to 15,366 in 2018. This threatens the future of the girl child.

According to the report, more cases of rape and defilement are from rural areas than urban areas. Sexual and gender-based violence offences are among the most common and prevalent offences committed in Uganda, and it’s believed that less than 15% of these cases end up in court.

Many women and girls are raped or defiled every day in Uganda but the silence continues and this may be due to the perpetrators mostly being closely connected to the victim/ survivor or the family. This has greatly affected the fight to end sexual gender based violence in our country. Victims/ survivors and families most times fear the after reactions or effects if they escalated the case thus keeping many in silence. Most of these rapes and defilement are committed by parents, guardians, teachers, doctors, bosses at work, husbands, helpers at home, close friends and relatives.

Women and girls who are survivors of rape and defilement often face mental health problems because of the scars it leaves behind thus affecting the victims well-being, productivity and their sexual reproductive health. Some end up committing suicide due to the shame they face. Many girls are at risk of dropping out of school, contracting diseases like HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases and unwanted pregnancies giving a rise to young single parenting and also forced marriages in some areas.

If we choose to fight “RAPE” and decide to leave behind some victims and survivors, we can never reach our goal. Many lesbian, bisexual, queer women, transwomen and girls have also been victims of rape where they are either raped collectively or by their close families and the perpetrator is never charged. Many stay silent because of the fear of being judged. We have heard many stories of different sex workers raped by either their clients or some by policemen after being arrested. All these cases need to be talked about or dealt with equally. This can only be achieved if the ground is leveled for every woman.

If we are to end sexual gender based violence, we need everyone to join the battle and fight for everyone without discrimination. Men also need to fully join the fight against sexual violence for them to understand best the effects of sexual gender based violence not only to the victim or survivor but also to the society and country. And in that they will appreciate that women also need to “CONSENT” before having sex with them and that minors need not to be deprived of their rights.




#Generation Equality



Winfred Mugambwa

Women Human Rights Defender