So many untold stories, of girls as young as four years being defiled by their biological fathers, and left to rot.
By Gladys Kalibbala
In 2013, the media published many stories where fathers defiled their daughters repeatedly and this leaves one to wonder who will protect them if their biological fathers cannot do it.
From this, many questions could be popping up in your head already. Questions like:
- Who will stop the cycle of this sexual violence if their families also act indifferently?
- Who is responsible for their education in order to help them brighten their future and become self-reliant?
- How can they be helped to overcome the trauma after defilement incidents?
A distressed 16-year-old girl living in Nyendo town in Masaka district got fed up with her father constantly defiling her, and decided enough was enough.
One night, she got a machete (panga) and hacked him in the head – a strike that killed him – when he had entered her room for routine sex.
Fear to report
Later, she told Police that she had begged her ruthless father for years to stop defiling her but that he had refused to hear any of that.
Unfortunately, their mother knew this was happening, but she had feared to report to the police. She also knew her husband had fathered children with two of his eldest daughters.
But it would be only a matter of time until the truth would come to light. And it sure did when the girl felt she had taken enough of the misery and went on to slay her father.
Such is what the girl child that is found on the brutal end of reality goes through.
Whenever the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, focus is on recognizing the kind of discrimination and violence girls all over the globe face every other day.
The day has been celebrated since 2012 after the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 on December 19, 2011.
On this day, emphasis is placed on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. This year’s theme was ‘Empowering Adolescent Girls: A Pathway to Ending the Cycle of Violence.’
The Uganda Police Annual Crime report for 2013 reveals that defilement topped the list of sexual crimes – with 9,598 cases – while rape cases were 1,042.
The in-charge Family and Child Protection Unit at Lugazi Police Mishael Turyeitu with an 11-year-old girl [face hidden] who was defiled. PHOTO/Gladys Kalibbala
Fundamental human right
Meanwhile according to a survey done by the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) of 2011, 56% of women do experience physical violence since the age of 15.
The study also shows that 28% women aged from 15 and 49 have ever experienced sexual violence – compared to 9% men in the same age group – and 16% women experienced violence during pregnancy.
The slight good news is, according to the UDHS study, that physical violence incidences have slightly decreased among women aged 15-49 from 34% in 2006 to 28% in 2011 but that the figures may still be high given that some cases are not reported and instead only solved by families or local officials at village levels.
Uganda’s minister for ethics Fr Simon Lokodo recently explained that “child abuse is a silent epidemic caused by a breakdown of the society value system which if not checked, will continue to haunt this nation for a long time:.
Experts explain that protection of children from all forms of violence is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Convention on the rights of the child and other international human rights treaties and standards.
Defiled in a shamba
In many such incidents, as that mentioned at the start of this article, families never go public for fear of the stigma that they believe may trail them. Many believe the community will laugh at them once they get to know the truth while others are too young or too vulnerable to disclose their experiences like in the case of another girl, whom we shall call Joan (not her real name).
Joan recently turned six and her story was a different matter that happened two years ago.
She was living with her father in a rented house in Kawempe, in the outskirts of Kampala. For over six months, none of their neighbours had ever seen anyone, say a relative, come to visit them.
One morning, a neighbor noticed that the small-framed girl, then four years old, walked in an unusual manner. That raised suspicion and plenty of curiosity. On closer observation, Joan was bleeding and experiencing pain at the same. Meanwhile, his father kept inside the house, unbothered.
Eventually, the police were notified of this and arrested little Joan’s abusive father.
Following the arrest, the poor girl had practically nowhere to go until [the writer] worked with Good Samaritans and fixed her in school.
Unfortunately, she does not know her mother or any other relative – which is a violation of her right to know her family.
Another such victim, an eight-year-old girl who was studying in a Primary School around Lugazi town, finally picked up courage and walked up to the police and reported her father who had been defiling her for over two years.
The father who had married another woman (the girl’s step-mother) would take her out every weekend and buy her a soda and a cake. In the evenings he would defile her in a sugarcane shamba (plantation).
When he was arrested, the girl’s step mother refused her to stay at their home yet, to make matters worse, the young victim did not know her real mother.
Luckily, a New Vision reader is now taking care of her after her story was published. But then, she needs to study.
This five-year-old girl [2nd-R with face hidden] defiled by her step-father in Lugazi. Here, her mother can afford a smile after she underwent successful operation at Mulago hospital. PHOTO/Gladys Kalibbala
Yet those are not the only disturbing cases.
A nine-year-old girl from Fort Portal was constantly defiled by her father for more than two years in Kasusu village.
Once when she reported what was being done to her to her aunt, she instead reportedly silenced her.
Reports indicate that among adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 who have been victims of physical or sexual violence, about seen out of 10 never sought help to end it.
Formerly, many of them used to remain silent because they never took it to be a problem. But for the case of the Fort Portal victim, she did not let her aunt frustrate her with the silencing. She went to alert police who later arrested her abusive father.
Her relatives plotted to kill her in order to save their brother as they had reasoned that without her around, the Police will not have evidence.
Luckily, she is now in the care of Good Samaritans but she also needs to get education.
What happens when the family keeps silent?
When a four-year-old girl was defiled at Rwenanura village in Rukungiri district by a 35-year-old man known as Jereva, a resident of the same village, her family did not help.
She had been sent to collect water at a nearby borehole where Jereva met her and diverted her to a nearby school and defiled her after reportedly promising to give her sweets. Although she reported to her aunt, the older woman ignored the incident until the victim’s mother paid them a visit.
When the girl’s mother was washing her [the girl], she noticed pus in her private parts, prompting the girl to narrate the disturbing ordeal. She also told her mother that she felt pain in her tummy.
Jereva, who committed the act, was detained by police briefly after the girl’s mother had reported.
He was released upon the intervention of the victim’s grandmother who, shockingly, claimed that the offender was a son to her best friend, and that his detention would ruin their family relationship.
A Good Samaritan picked the defiled girl and brought her to Kampala for treatment together with her other four siblings. This was after their mother was banished from the area, being accused of creating divisions in the village.
Because her husband had abandoned her with their five children, she was left desperately helpless and had planned to abandon all the children in a nearby town right before the Good Samaritan intervened.
Unfortunately, those who come out and report cases to police also end up losing hope after the delay of justice.
Justice, however, prevailed in the case of Moses Atidra, 25, who defiled his five-year-old step-daughter in the June of 2012 at Lugazi Tea Plantation.
According to doctors at Mulago Hospital – the national referral hospital in Kampala – the young victim developed a condition described as enterovaginal fistula.
“The vagina and large intestine had been punctured, forcing faeces to leak through her vagina but we mended her professionally,” explained of the medics.
After a month in hospital where New Vision readers provided her with financial and moral support, the girl was discharged.
Readers responded to her story that was first published by Saturday Vision paper on June 27, 2012.
Atidra was in June 2013 convicted to 20 years in prison upon his pleading guilty to the offence. Judgment took place at Mukono High court as per Ref: CRB 1182/2012.
These girls and many others whose stories have not been run are currently in need of proper education, clothes and many other essential commodities.
As this year’s theme states, Empowering Adolescent Girls: A Pathway to Ending the Cycle of Violence’, the only way to help stop the cycle of violence in their lives is to help them attain a decent education.
To assist them in achieving this for bright future, feel free to contact 0782811445
Our fathers have defiled us, whom should we turn to?