Children who were found at the centre shield their faces away from the camera.
By Vision Reporter
Some of the children recently found at the Ssese Humanitarian Services centre run by Bernhard Glaser, a German national accused of abusing them, told New Vision about their stay at the centre and the manner in which he treated them.
Although one girl said Glaser has never abused them, another one said he had done so. The two, however, accepted having family planning implants to prevent them from getting pregnant.
Below is what the two said about Bernhard Glaser, who they referred to as Bery.
In 2013, Bery called us in the living room and told us that we were supposed to be on family planning. He said if we refused, he would chase us out of his house. We slept on his bed and had the implants inserted by Maries Stopes doctors.
We were told that they were to stay in our bodies for eight years. It was a painful experience but he told us to keep it to ourselves and never ever tell anyone. We wanted to tell his partner (Roxane) who is in the US what we were going through, but there was no way we could get in touch with her.
Bery could not let us use his phone. He stores medicine in the house and if you are not feeling well, he treats you. If you are badly off, he calls a medic known as Frank, who comes from Kalangala Hospital, to treat you.
At times when the girls are many and the beds are few, we share a bed with him. Last holiday, he forced me to have sex with him because among all the girls, I was the only one who had never slept with him. He warned me not to tell anyone.
He said failure to listen to him; he was going to chase me away. We live in fear. His wife always comes once in a year in February. When she is around, they sleep in the same bed and no one else shares his room.
Most of us cannot count the times we have had sex with him. What I know, none of us has ever opened up to the Police or our parents because we fear to be displaced from his house. Ever since I put the implants, I have never experienced my periods. I felt like removing it when I had gone for holidays at my parents’ home, but I feared that he could chase me away.
People in Mweena have complained about him but he made sure the Police and everyone who matters is on his team. He works closely with Afande Bbaale. Bery overworks us yet he does not feed us well.
Sometimes, he beats us. After porridge as breakfast at 10:00am, we wait till 5:00pm for dinner. I have just realised that my parents’ home is better than Bery’s. When we go to school, he gives out our clothes to new children.
Twenty-year-old student of Bridge of Hope Secondary School.
In 2006, I joined the family when I was 13. When I reached puberty, Bery advised all of us who had started menstrual periods to have contraceptive implants for fear that we could easily be impregnated by men, especially fishermen and Police officers on the island.
Doctors from Marie Stopes came and sensitised us about the implants and I decided to have it.
When Bery realised that most of us were likely to have sex but confident that we would not get pregnant, he educated us about other contraceptives, brought an artificial penis and demonstrated to us how to use a condom to prevent HIV.
Most of the girls, who removed the implants, got pregnant and left us. We use his bathroom because he has no candida like most of the girls who join us. There is a girl who joined us and we all got candida through the common bathroom.
From that time, we asked him to allow us use his bathroom because it was safe. For candida treatment and for the other treatment we use the Vaginale gel and the tablets.
It is not true that we share his bed. Our chambers are next to his bedroom for easy access because at times, he faints and when he forgets to take his tablets, he gets cramps at night.
So when he calls us, we easily get up and help him. I have never been defiled.
19-year-old Senior Six student
I am the eldest daughter of Bery and I was the first to join his house. Honestly, Bery has never slept with me. Which father rapes his daughters? Only girls who are sick sleep in his bedroom. You journalists have disorganised our future.
I have a boyfriend and Bery knows it. That is why we have all those pills and condoms in the house. If he was using us, I would have told my parents who brought me to his home.
Bery is caring and loving. If you do something good, he kisses you on the forehead not on the lips.
Jean Kyomugisha, a counselling psychologist at Care Counselling Centre explained that some of the girls could be lying. “If the children are intimidated, they will not give productive information.
Besides, they are children. As human beings, their values have been compromised.”
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