At least 4 teenage girls are sexually abused; either raped or defiled in the island district of Kalangala, a survey report indicates.
According to findings by Her Voice, a non-government organization, many teenage girls are raped and defiled mostly by fishermen who believe in the myth that defiling girls brings them good luck in their fishing operations.
The fishermen also argue that the teenage girls are easy to convince and as per confessions from the former, having sex with the virgins has helped them carry out their fishing activity successfully.
Speaking at the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA)-HERVOICE Fund launch held at Hotel Africana, Asia Namusoke, Executive Director People in Need Agency (PINA Uganda) noted that girl child sex abuse is close to normal in Kalangala District.
Namusoke stated that the number of young girls who are sexually abused is quite more than the 4 highlighted.
“The number of sexually abused girls was worryingly increasing as many wouldn’t be able to report the cases either for fear of being killed or abandoned by their parents,” she said.
One of the victims, Winnie Nansamba, shared her horrific encounter, noting that young girls in Kalangala go through hell and yet no one wants to talk about it.
Making her remarks at the launch, Martha Clara Nakato, Her Voice Fund Ambassador, implored the public especially the males to sensitize and educate girl children to report any sexual abuse and rally fellow men and boys to stop the vice.
“Once that is done, there will never be such a thing as rape and defilement among others,” Nakato said.
Nansamba’s disturbing tale
My misery started way back, I was only 11 years old when my uncle, with whom I stayed, trafficked me to Kalangala and forced me to marry a fisherman there.
Young I as I was, I could not resist at first because I didn’t know who to report to. I didn’t have anywhere to go, no one to help because not even any of my relatives came to my rescue.
As time went on, I realized I could actually stand up for my rights and have my voice heard.
One day, I swallowed my pride and went to the nearby police station in Kalangala and reported the case. I was finally rescued by the police who later on linked me to a certain organization for refuge since I had nowhere to go.
Things at that Organisation went quite well for some time but I was wrong to think I had gotten a place I could call home. To be precise, this was only the beginning of my suffering, I was sexually abused by the leader of this Organization, something that made me wish I had atleast stayed with the first man I was forced to than this organization.
I give the police credit though, for they arrested this man and later took him to prison but as time went on and with endless visits to court, things didn’t work out on my side as the culprit was released and case dismissed.
I lost the case but I am very grateful that HER VOICE empowered me through their trainings. I now have the courage to speak out publicly all those horrible things that happened to me.
I have a big vision to empower young girls to resist any form of sexual abuse and be able to report culprits without fear or favor.
Honestly, I don’t wish what happened to me to happen to any other young girl out there. It is also my request to the relevant authorities to up their game and rescue young girls from such vices most especially in Kalangala district.
The way a girl child is treated in Kalangala is one you probably won’t find anywhere in Uganda, they are abused even by their own parents. For example, in the place I was, girls are looked at as money making ventures, they are married off to big men as early as they turn 7 to 8 years.