“I don’t know what to tell you. I wait for my time when I will also die. After all, even my child has died,” she told our reporter who tried to inquire how she was managing. Draru was first raped in March 2015 as she returned from Ayipe Trading Centre around 8pm.
Jane Draru (not real names) seats on the
verandah of her grass thatched house in Kopu village in Ayipe Sub County in
Koboko District folding her hands on her chest. She celebrated her 18th
birthday early this month. Draru, who seems lost in a state of despair was
raped twice in a space of four years, impregnated and infected with HIV.
“I don’t know what to tell you. I wait for my
time when I will also die. After all, even my child has died,” she told our
reporter who tried to inquire how she was managing. Draru was first raped in March 2015 as she
returned from Ayipe Trading Centre around 8pm.
She was confronted by a man whom she knew as a family
friend. “He wrestled me down and then raped me. I reported to my parents
but they said I had wanted to have sex with him. I was blamed,” she said. Draru
decided to keep quite because her family chose to blame her.
//Cue in “It happened in March 2015…
Cue out…brought back to the family now,”//
Six months later, Draru escorted her friend to
a health facility. While there, a health worker discussed the advantages of
knowing one’s health status. She was
hesitant to test because people had told her that the person who had raped her
was already on HIV treatment.
She feared knowing her status but nevertheless,
her friend encouraged her to test and the results confirmed her suspicion.
Draru rushed home and shared the test results with her parents.
//Cue in: “After……….
However, the suspect’s family said they were
not aware and there was no proof that their son had actually raped her. “I
decided that I would look for this man and do something to him. But I was
informed that he left this place and I have never seen him again,” Draru said.
At the time of the first incident, Draru was a
Primary Four pupil at Ayipe Primary School. She immediately stopped going to school
thinking that she would die soon. Draru started operating a food joint to
earn a living. She could wake up as early as 5am and return home past 9m.
However, bad luck struck again as she was raped
for the second time in June 2018. The rapist waylaid her on her way home about 15
minutes to 10pm.
//Cue in “Second happened in June 2018…
Cue out…raping her,”//
Unlike the previous time, she couldn’t identify
the rapist. She only managed to identify the rapist with the help of her
neighbors after describing how he was dressed.
“I went to report to the Chairman. But the
suspect fled before he could be arrested. I have never seen him since then,” Draru
said. According to Draru, she could have chopped the rapist into pieces had she
got chance to pounce on him.
Since her neighbors had identified the second
rapist, her parents held a meeting with his family. The two families agreed to
settle the matters amicably. A month later, Draru missed her periods. She
tested for pregnancy and the results were positive.
The parents asked her whether the pregnancy was
as a result of the second rape or it was someone else. “I told them I had
not engaged in any sexual activity except when I was raped. They took me to the
man [rapist]’s home and his parents accepted to take care of me. I started
living with them until I gave birth,” she said.
Her child was born weak. Draru didn’t have
money to take her baby to better health facilities. However, in both incidents
she didn’t report to police because she was never supported by her parents.
“I wish my rapist could be arrested and killed. I would be happy if they
are arrested. They raped me and ran away. I am now suffering with HIV. They are
enjoying life,” Draru said.
Although she is she is already on HIV
treatment, Draru says sometimes she gets angry and abandons the drugs. Draru says
she sees no reason for taking drugs since she could die any time. She says her
child could have survived to give her a reason for living.
Draru is part of the 47,746 girls defiled in the
last three years, according to the Police Annual Crimes records of 2016, 2017
and 2018. This translates into 15,915 girls defiled every months and 43 on a
Police statistics show 201 girls were defiled by
people living with HIV in 2018, 115 were defiled by guardians, ninety-five
pupils by their teachers, 90 secondary school students by teachers, 90 girls
with disabilities were defiled and 84 girls by their biological parents.
Child rights defenders such as Reach a Hand
Uganda (RAHU), Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) and
Partner in Community Transformation (Picot) put the blame to lack of
comprehensive police on Sexuality, Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) that would
empower girls with appropriate information on how to deal with sexual advances.
Maureen Andinda, the RAHU’s Strategy and
Business Development Manager, reasons that absence of clear policies regarding
the approach and response to young people's sexual reproductive health
challenges creates an environment where inaccurate, mythical and downright
wrong information sharing thrives.
Andinda says young people listen to wrong
information and base on it to make their reproductive health choices without
guidance therefore young people are not able to stand up for themselves against
vices such as sexual harassment, abuse or peer influence.
“Inadequate response to these occurrences
contribute to a lot of the reproductive health indicators that remain
unacceptably high for example; the ever increasing cases of teenage pregnancy
and HIV prevalence amongst young people,” Andinda said.
Lydia Ceyo, the Picot’s project manager cites
West Nile region, says there is need for a detailed approach to address Sexuality,
Reproductive Health Rights-SRHR in solving problems faced by girls such as Draru.
She believes if Draru had been empowered, she
would have thought of post-exposure prophylaxis (Pep) soon after she had been
raped and it could have probably prevented her from getting HIV.
“For instance, in this West Nile, many parents
do not believe that a girl can be defiled or raped. This is why they often
force victims to get married to their rapists. I have intervened in numerous
cases where raped girls are being forced to get married to their rapist,” Ceyo
Joy Asasira, CEHURD’s research and documentation
manager, says the problem lies in the response of different stakeholders that
are tasked with ensuring that young people have access to information and
services. Asasira insists that equipping children with SRHR information would
be pivotal in making informed choices, especially as they relate to their
“From the smallest unit to the larger
institutions like schools and churches, young people are being encouraged to
abstain, maintain moral turpitude, but that is not enough. Young people need
more information about how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexual
violence,” Asasira explains.
Ismael Mulindwa, the Education Ministry’s Policy
Analyst, believes all child rights queries are answered by the National
Sexuality Education Frame (NSEFW) launched by First Lady and Minister for
Education, Janet Museveni. Mulindwa refers Andinda, Ceyo and Asasira to
NSEFW’s objectives that he says summarize issues of child marriages and teenage
//Cue in “We have issues…
Cue out…every child,”//
Sheikh Juma Muhammad Chuchu, the Education
Secretary Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC), says religious leaders are not
against efforts by the Education ministry to address SRHR. Chuchu says as clerics they have issues on the
content that that they intend to give the children given their age.
“We are saying
that they should involve us from the start so that we can advise them on how to
package information for children. You cannot teach relationships to children of
three years and we just look on. We can’t accept that,” Chuchu said.
The Education ministry’s list of activities to
be done once implementation is enrolled out include teaching children of 3 to5
years old sexuality and human development, sexuality and relationships,
sexuality and sexual behaviour, sexuality and sexual health.
Records from the Criminal Investigation
Directorate show that more than 25000 cases have been dismissed by court for
lack of substantive evidence in the last four years. Majority of the cases
rotate around sexual offences.
“There are a number…
Cue out…cases are dismissed,"//
The CID director, Grace Akullo say there is
connivance of parents with culprits of sexual offences like defilement, a
reason witnesses and complainant fail to turn up in court leading to dismissal