As if being born with HIV and being discriminated against at home was not bad enough, 19-year-old Faith encountered every woman’s worst nightmare. She was gang raped and is now pregnant. She shared her story with Violet Nabatanzi
Faith lost her parents at the age of two and that became the start of a sad life. She had shared with her friends that at home, in Manafwa, she was being stigmatised because of her HIV-positive status. She told them that she was willing to do any job to get away.
One day, her best friend told her that she had got her a job as a house help in Kampala. Faith was so happy. She packed up her belongings and boarded a bus to Kampala.
A new prospect
The house help deal, however, did not go as planned so she ended up taking a job as a hawker of flasks and basins.
“The job location was Bweyogerere, but I was told to sell the items in Kalerwe,” she says.
On the fateful day, Faith reported to work and went about her business as usual, hoping to get customers. She walked from Bweyogerere to Kalerwe vending her items, but failed to make any money.
This also meant that she would have no transport money back home. She had no choice, but to walk back. It was already evening.
On her way, Faith met a group of youth, who ambushed her and drugged her with chloroform.
The following morning, a Good Samaritan woke her up. She says when she sat up, her panties were beside her and her private parts were painful. The flasks and basins had been stolen.
A few months later, Faith’s employers realised that she was pregnant. They gave her sh5,000 and fired her.
Faith thought she would find refuge in a church. She needed prayer and counselling. At one church she went to, a security guard told her to return the following day, saying there was no counselling that day.
Faith asked the guard if she could spend the night at the church, but he would not let her. He advised her to go to Mulago Hospital. She could sleep in the compound.
In January this year, Mulago Police, in an operation, chased away all those sleeping at the Mulago Hospital compound, saying it was illegal.
With nowhere to go, Faith begged them to have mercy on her. She narrated her ordeal to the Police officers, who offered to help her. They decided to cater for her meals — lunch and supper. They have also rented her a one-roomed house in Makerere, where she currently lives.
“The money for rent is collected among us Police officers. We helped her because she was in a pathetic condition. We do this for others also,” says the officer in charge of Mulago Police Post, Allan Sanya.
At the moment, Faith sleeps on a mat in her single room since she does not have a mattress and bedsheets.
She is on ARVs and gets her medication from Old Mulago. She also attends antenatal clinics at the same hospital.
Faith appeals to well-wishers for financial support. She says she can do any kind of work.
How to avoid being raped
Trust your instincts: If you feel uncomfortable in someone's company, avoid being alone with them.
If you are going to a party or any other event in a strange place, take along a friend.
Rapists can lace drinks with flavourless chemicals, so keep an eye on your drink.
If you are walking at night or are in a remote location, walk with a friend.
Stay alert by avoiding headphones which impair your ability to hear.
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Drugged, raped and laid off