Civil society and Members of Parliament under the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) have launched a campaign dubbed “My Body, My Consent” in response to acts of rape and sexual violence against women and girls.
The campaign follows the recent wave of rape related allegations on social media in Uganda, that saw a number of people named for rape and sexual misconduct.
Addressing the media at Parliament, the National Female Youth MP, Anna Adeke Ebaju said by encouraging victims of rape to come out publicly, the campaign seeks to encourage women to take back their power.
“We were all taken by shock especially by the nature of offenders who range from friends, to relatives, to bosses at work places, to strangers, to Police officers preying on suspects in Police custody,” Adeke said.
Adeke said the failure of the country’s systems to provide justice is equally shocking. This is partly what necessitated the launch of a campaign, a joint action against all forms of sexual assaults that have been committed against the women and girls in the country.
The legislator said UWOPA and the Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum-Uganda can not afford to continue watching even after acts of bravery of victims who are willing to talk about the heinous crimes.
“We have therefore chosen to act and seek justice against all those that have always perpetrated this crime through a number of actions which include; “My Body, My Consent” which is geared towards creating a Uganda that is safer for both women and men to freely enjoy their sexual rights through expediting the passing of the Sexual Offences Bill,” Adeke said.
She added that campaigners will be proving legal and psychosocial support to victims of rape and sexual assault as well as publicly condemning sexual violence in all its forms by encouraging the victims to speak up, naming and shaming the perpetrators of sexual assault and rape.
Adeke noted that the legislators will table a motion on the floor asking Parliament to pass the Sexual Offences Bill before end of the month because it is the only adequate law that can curb the vices and give justice to the survivors.
“We are going to do a mega protest rally in the city to inform the intending perpetrators of these crimes that the law is watching and we are watching too. We also call upon ladies out there to be keen and talk to us whenever their bodies are violated,” Adeke added.
Mitoma Woman Member of Parliament (MP), Jovah Kamateeka said it is absurd that rape has been normalized in the country and that victims continue to suffer victimization.