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Men increasingly falling rape victims too

By John Agaba

Added 19th August 2016 02:35 PM

According to a report by the Refugee Law Project, one in every three male refugees (33%), who enter Uganda and are assessed, has been raped or is victim to the sexual injustice.

Men increasingly falling rape victims too

According to a report by the Refugee Law Project, one in every three male refugees (33%), who enter Uganda and are assessed, has been raped or is victim to the sexual injustice.

PIC:Left to Right: Commander Land Forces, David Muhoozi, Police deputy director human resource, Felix Ndyomugenyi, Director for Refugee Law Project, Dr. Chris Dolan and British High Commissioner, Alison Blackburne during the Workshop on the International Protocol on Investigation and Documentation of Sexual Violence in conflict areas sponsored by Commonwealth on August 9, 2016 at Metropole Hotel.Photo/Peter Busomoke.

So, can a man be raped? Or to put it more home forced into penetrative sex against will? How can it happen when 'he' is not in mood and 'reciprocating'?

But, alas, men too can be raped. Whether they are in mood or not. Boys and young men in conflict areas, including refugee camps suffer the most brunt of the gruesome and abhorring sexual injustice.

According to a report by the Refugee Law Project, one in every three male refugees (33%), who enter Uganda and are assessed, has been raped or is victim to the sexual injustice.

"Someone will ask; ‘how can a man be raped'? In our society (Uganda), it is unheard of. But these little boys and young men (in conflict areas and refugees) are subjected to worst forms of sexual violence by (fellow) men and other captors who dehumanize them," said RLP director Dr. Chris Dolan at a sexual violence meeting at upscale Metropole Hotel in Kampala Tuesday.

"They are abused in all forms you can think of. Forced to engage in sexual intercourse, including sucking and massaging the captors private parts and being sodomised," he said.

The report said two in every three women refugees (66%) had either been forced into penetrative sexual intercourse against will or had ‘consented' to the act by coercion.

"In Kampala alone, out of a refugee population of 80,000, about 20,000 are adult women, whom about 13,000 are (rape) survivors," RLP director Dr. Chris Dolan said. "Approximately about 20,000 are adult men, of whom about 6,500 are survivors," he said.

Uganda currently hosts approximately 520,000 refugees, the majority of whom arrived in the past several years and stay at Kyangwali and Rwamwanja and the other settlement camps.

The unrest in war-torn South Sudan has also seen the number of refugees at a refugee camp in Adjumani district in northern Uganda hit six zeros.

However, it is not only boys and men in conflict areas or in refugee camps who are victim to the sexual injustice.

Senior Commissioner of Police and deputy director of human resources at the forces, Felix Ndyomugyenyi, said a "big number" of boys and young men were raped, not necessarily that they included refugees or were from conflict areas.

"The challenge is our Ugandan Penal Code does not include any clause indicating or alluding to a fact that a man can also be raped. But we are increasingly registering cases of boys who have been sexually ‘violated' either by older men or women.

"When a little boy is forcibly compelled to ‘help' a woman older than him to achieve sexual arousal and satisfaction; that is rape," he said. "We have a lot of these cases, but because of stigma and our law, which is not inclusive, they don't come out. Only a few come out."

The Penal Code says: "Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats or intimidation or any kind or by fear of bodily harm, or by means of false representation as to the nature of the act, or in the case of a married woman, by personating her husband, commits the felony termed rape."    

However, the international Rome Statute is broader in its definition: "The perpetrator invaded the body of a person by conduct resulting in penetration, however slight, of any part of the body of the victim or perpetrator with a sexual organ or of the anal or genital opening of the victim with an object or any other part of the body."

"We need to amend our law and include a clause defining that bit when it is a male that has been lured into sexual intercourse, when they didn't consent," the police officer said.

The meeting sought to sensitize stakeholders about the extent of sexual violence in Uganda and to call upon them to show more commitment towards the fight against the injustice.  It was attended by the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces Land Commander Major General David Muhoozi and army chief of staff Brigadier Leopold Kyanda. There were Police representatives and other activists.

British High commissioner to Uganda Alison Blackburne called on the civil society and specifically the judicature to be strict on sexual violence perpetrators. She called for all (sexual violence) cases to be investigated, and culprits punished.

Rose Muheko touched many when she narrated a painful story how rebel leaders in DR Congo forced her legs open and raped her in front of the students she taught at a school at Kanyabayonga Institute in North Kivu in 2004.

"They took me for two years. In those two years, they forced me to smoke and to do other things I can't say now because I don't want to recall them. But it was the worst years of my life. I got two children from that ‘union'," said the woman, now a mother of four, who stays at Katwe in Kampala.


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