MOST women stop at jeering when uninvited male hands touch them. Yet it is a crime that could send a man to prison for up to 14 years.
Kampala Extra Police spokesperson Simeo Nsubuga says unwanted touching is a crime referred to as indecent assault in the penal code. This includes any unwanted touch, whether on the hair, breasts, bums or any body part. Even uttering indecent words or peeping at womenâ€™s private parts.
â€œThis is something that has been going on for a very long time but very few women report it to us,â€ says Nsubuga. â€œMany are unaware that there is a law against what such men are doing to them so they live with it,â€ he says.
Nsubuga says section 128 (1) provides for 14 years imprisonment for any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults any woman or girl. This prison sentence may be with or without corporal punishment. â€œWe receive very few cases of indecent assault, yet it is very common out there,â€ he says.
Nsubuga explains that for a girl under 18, even if she has consented, a man can be sent to prison for touching her. He reveals that the most common kind of assault is the uttering of sounds and gestures that insult the modesty of a woman. â€œThese men call women obscene words and communicate to them in awful gestures. This is also an offense that can lead to imprisonment for one year,â€ Nsubuga explains.
He, therefore, advises women who may be inappropriately assaulted to report immediately to any police station. â€œWe are ready to act upon such men and itâ€™s our job to protect womenâ€™s rights. Women shouldnâ€™t be taken for granted. They are human beings with rights and as men, we should not violate them. Instead, we should be at the forefront of promoting these rights and protect women,â€ Nsubuga says.
A man who touches your behind can be jailed for 14 years