Ugandan Military Fails to Aid Sexual Assault Victims
With the rise of sex crimes becoming an epidemic in Uganda, their military has opened up an investigation regarding accusations of soldiers exploiting and sexually assaulting women in the Central African Republic. The Human Rights Watch reports at least thirteen women and three girls have been violated since 2010 while they were threatened to remain silent. Unfortunately, fifteen women whose rapes resulted in pregnancy say their children's’ fathers have fled the country and failed to provide any support.
The military has been in CAR (Central African Republic) since 2009 while in battle with the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). Alongside the US Special Armed Forces and the help of the AU, the Ugandan military has had the intent to capture and kill members of the LRA, most notably their leader Joseph Kony who is responsible for the death of more than 100,000 Ugandans. As of April of this year, it has been reported that the LRA is no longer a threat and both parties have ceased fire.
Some women have no choice but to accept the offer of sex in exchange for money to support themselves and children. This is a common practice in Uganda and has become normalized within the town for many years.
The Human Rights Watch says, “Central African Republic, women and girls often do not report sexual violence or exploitation due to shame, stigma, or fear of retaliation.” This is nothing new in a world of misogynistic views. Women all around the world are often victim blamed for violence against them. Women are also afraid their perpetrator will not be charged. This is exactly what happened when a BBC report disclosed cases of Ugandan troops sexually assaulting women resulting in a 12 year old girl becoming pregnant. The Ugandan military said they opened up an investigation. However, it became closed as they found “no evidence of wrongdoing”.
It’s become apparent that the Ugandan military is failing to help victims. Although, they did interview the women, there was no follow up or information being released in regards to the crimes. In a letter written by Maria Burnett, Director of East and Horn Africa of the Human Rights Watch; She asked a series of questions about accusations of the Ugandan Military and the next steps involving justice for victims. This included, if any support will be administered to children born to Ugandan soldiers as a result of rape . The bureau has not responded.
Clearly, this proves the Ugandan forces are not taking appropriate actions against their military, and have done everything in their power to hide the malfeasances in this situation. Women suffering from this traumatic experience have received no aid in health or mental care despite being tested for HIV/AIDS.
To make matters more nauseating, the man will leave the woman to fend for herself after the child is born or while she’s still pregnant. One women told the Human Rights Watch, when she asked the Ugandan man for his number he replied with “No, the child is my gift to you. It will be a souvenir to remember me by”. Another woman, who went by the alias, “Jeanette” stated she only had sex with a Ugandan soldier to provide food and clothing for herself. Now she needs more money for her baby.
As of June of this year, two officers of the Ugandan army are to appear in court with allegations of sexual assaults between the years 2015-2017. While this does justice for the women raped by these men, this doesn’t defend all the women that have been victimized by the soldiers.