KAMPALA, 26 March 2021 – Some 200 fathers committed incest on their daughters in 2020, up from 90 fathers in 2019, according to latest data released by Uganda’s ministry of Gender.
The 200 cases of incest are among a total of 1,682 of “sexual defilement” of minors (describing sexual abuse of girls aged between 14 and 18) and “aggravated defilement” (so described when it occurs in girls aged below 14).
The 1,682 cases of pedoohilia in 2020 were up from 451 reported in 2019 through the child helpline services.
Another 175 complaints of “defilement” and sexual abuse were reported against immediate family members like uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, grandparents and step-fathers and mothers.
The cases of abuse are underreported, with most victims not reporting for fear of social stigma or embarrassment since many of the perpetuators are often family members or relatives.
Some of the data is believed to be lost in between the cracks as it is currently scattered between police, probation offices, NGOs and health centres.
“No government agency is going to give you the exact data, especially in the lockdown,” an official at the ministry of gender told reporters on condition of anonymity.
The number of sex offenders is rising despite the fact that they risk the death sentence, if convicted.
The judicial system is dysfunctional, and indirectly providing cover for the sex offenders.
A child protection officer at Remnant Generations in Lyantonde, David Muyanja, says they receive calls to rescue defiled girls almost daily but are frustrated with the judicial system.
He said his office received 1,030 reports of the sexual abuse of a child between August 2020 and last February.
The breakdown across the victims include 55 cases of child marriages, 80 of teenage pregnancies, and 15 cases of incest. No defiler has been convicted, meaning no victims has ever obtained justice, he explained.
According o him, most of the cases whose files were submitted to court long time ago have not been heard.
“There is no justice for the girls. Even where we have suspects admitting they defiled a girl, the magistrate doesn’t have jurisdiction to handle the case. These will be remanded until we don’t know when,” Mr Muyanja notes.