WHAT ELSE CAN ONE CALL IT ? MISOGYNY
Definition- Misogyny is a noun to mean a cultural attitude of hatred or dislike for females, because they are female.(SIHA Second Journal on Women in Islam,2015). The year 2015 ended on a confusing note with a defiler or rapist on the loose in Nabazizza, Kyengera, a Kampala suburb, about twelve kilometers outside the capital city Kampala.
Scared mothers whispered about a young girl who was defiled on her way back from school where she had gone to pick her end of year report. Stories were told of the incidents of girls below the age of nine who were defiled by unknown person(s). The trend seemed to have a pattern. More than four girls in a month were defiled but no one described the defiler(s) comprehensively enough to be recognized. Were the victims too young to recall who defiled them? Was the defiler(s) one or they were many?
On 17th January 2016 the rumours were made official information in a village meeting convened by the Local Council One Chairperson, attended by the village and sub-county leaders, security personnel and members of the community.
The Chairman introduced the agenda for the afternoon meeting as –Ekyikwaata baana-literary translated as That which catches children, to mean defilement. The topic was introduced and residents were asked to give evidence, and those affected to come out and speak up. Amidst a big crowd of over one hundred people, there was great silence as no one stood up to testify. Advice was given that it was traumatizing for anyone to stand in public and disclose defilement of a loved one. Not with opinions that blamed mothers for letting children walk about unattended, and for sending young girls on errands.
It was in the end that a grandmother testified how her granddaughter was asked by a stranger to escort him with a promise of getting paid one thousand Uganda shillings( less than a dollar). She narrated that after they had walked a short distance, the man started pulling her into a bushy area, taking off his trousers. The girl screamed and pulled away from the captor. She survived to tell the story.
Individuals then got courage to share. One narrated how one child was outside her home brushing teeth in the morning, only to run into the house where her parents were, crying and bleeding from her private parts. Someone else was sent to a shop within her guardian’s view and came back in shock, crying that someone had defiled her.
In conclusion, some residents blamed the defilement on witch craft, where people believed that when one defiled a child one would be rich. Some said it was evil spirits- mayembe /majini brought into the village by people who were in search of riches, that had run wild and were the ones attacking the girls. Others blamed new comers into the area, and the leadership that failed to register them and provide adequate protection for residents.
The Officer-in Charge of Kyengera Police Post confirmed that they had received some complaints at station. He was concerned that four children-the eldest 7years of age , in the same place, in one week could be defiled in a month, and that it was common for 12 to 17 year olds to be defiled . He decried the increased incidents in the village, and many that were not reported.
Ruth Fund Uganda could not close the chapter on the developments after the meeting,Joy for Children an organisation that deals with children was consulted.
Looking at the wider view of gender based violence, how significant are the defilement cases?
Could it be part of organized action against women and girls? Could it be practicing the salafi ideology,or salafism, or salafi doctrine, where underage girls, as young as (9)nine years old are abducted into forced marriages throughout the Islamic world. It mentions that the Iraqi Parliament attempts to legalise underage marriage, to reduce marriage age from 17 to 9 years old.( SIHA Second Journal-Women in Islam, 2015,pages 58-60).
Rural Women and Youth Fund Uganda need views on a way forward before these criminal acts against women and girls gets out of hand.