Justice For Sexual Violence Survivors

“The biggest challenge with handling human trafficking cases is that you have willing victims driven by circumstances into submission to acts which result into sexual violence,” said Moses Binoga, the Chairman of the National Task Force on Human Trafficking.

Sexual Violence is one of the unvoiced acts that daily strangle up people in their relationships. It affects men, women and children. However, women and girls turn out to be more of the victims. This is mainly because of tradition and rigid gender norms.

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The need to address Sexual Violence. Photo credit: @FIDAUganda

It is such issues that ought to be addressed. The perpetrators of sexual violence usually are freed for lack of evidence against them. The inconsistency in the law gives lee way to the perpetrators to go unpunished. For example, does a raped victim first report to the health centre or the police?

One out of three women who experience physical or sexual violence is mainly inflicted by someone close to them usually a relative or friend. And reporting them to authorities is a challenge.

Also the police, in a number of countries in the Great Lakes Region, does not have a clear description of what constitutes to be sexual violence and what does not. This affects the process of justice.

It is because of this reason that The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) convened a two day conference at the Lake Victoria Serena Resort to find ways of seeking #Justices4SexualViolenceSurvivors during the #16days of Activism.

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Delegates  in  a group photo with Hon Mary Karooro Okurut. Photo credit: @Pauline_Kahu

Today, there are many gaps in the process of documenting and investigating sexual violence. Very few personnel in the police are well versed with how to address this issue.

According to ICGLR, sexual violence includes; rape, sexual assault, grievous bodily harm, mutilation and forced pregnancy.

Sexual Violence should not be seen as a public health care problem but as one that cuts across multi-sectors.

There is need to ask questions but most importantly to speak to the victims of sexual violence; men, women and children. Victims ought to be helped especially men. Very few open up as victims of sexual violence.

Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut pledged, on behalf of the government, to seek justice for the victims.

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Timeless Truths by Dr Dennis D. Sempebwa

Do you remember a book called Students’ Companion? It was a medium blue book that teachers of the English language always emphasized to better one’s understanding of the language.

One thing that drew my attention to the Students’ Companion were mainly the idioms and the proverbs. It had a wealthy collection of them.

Today, the wealth of language has been diluted with slang which has squeezed the juice out of it. Anyone who had a chance of being in the company of the granny folk must have had a chance to get the exposure to this form of language; one rich in proverbs and folklore.

Dr Dennis Sempebwa is one such a kind of person having grown up at a time where visiting the grandparents, for some urban families, was a routine for many a family in Kampala. He was immersed in the wealth of proverbs that his grandmother told him that he yearned for more. This led him to write Timeless Truths, 300 Enduring Proverbs for Our Generation.

Cover of Timeless Truth. Photo by @PHILKaJo

In Timeless Truths, Dennis explores various themes through a collection of 300 proverbs put together. The themes are in the area of Adversity, Purpose, Change, Diligence, Authenticity, Cheerleaders, Antagonists, Coaches and Faith.

The wealth of this collection is not only by the power of the words here written but also the endorsement of various personalities who have read it.

These proverbs cut across a myriad of topics and yet they are written in the simplest way possible. The author labours to give meaning of each proverb leaving no room for misinterpretation.

Dr Dennis Sempebwa collects the proverbs across the board from the Bible to native languages. However, in all, the author maintains a simplified semantic expression of these timeless truths.

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Dr Dennis D. Sempebwa speaking at the launch of his book. Photo by @Snipet7

“To hear the music inside of you, you’ll first have to turn down everyone else’s,” reads one of the proverbs.

Like Isaac Rucci said at the launch of this book; “This is not one of those books one reads to finish.” Rather, it is one read to reflect. There is a lot hidden in the proverbs that reading them all at one go, one may miss out on the greater detail therein written.

Dennis’ interest is to elevate the position of proverbs from the remote fire place that they were abandoned to the modern school of thought that today’s society subscribes.

The book is on sale on amazon at $10.99. The proceeds from the book sales are to help students in school get copies of the same.
With one copy sold, ten copies are made available to students in schools.

 

Family Planning mu Ndongo

Speaking matters health; who leads the conversation in a relationship?
Many couples shy away from seeking information regarding health. When it comes to men, many assume that only women should be concerned. This is not right.

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A staff member of PHAU

Couples should know about the status of their health and that of their children willingly and cooperatively. Until this is made known to them, chances are; whatever they learn from their circles of friends at a beer party or during salon talk is all taken as the gospel truth.

It is upon this background that  PHAU is organizing Family Planning mu Ndongo. This is a series of events that are being organized in various towns in Uganda teaching the local communities both men and women gathered together about the benefits of family planning and health as a whole to the family. The event is presented in a form of infotainment.

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Entertainers carrying placards with Family Planning Info

Last week, I joined the team for the event that was held at Kasana grounds in Luwero.

In the company of branded bodaboda cyclists with banners talking about family planning, we took a road drive through the  various trading centers in Luwero Town Council as experts talked about family planning and health.

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Branded Bodabodas staging at one of the trading centres

Later, free medical services and checkups were given to the community with counseling services. At the event, there were more women than men a challenge that leaves many loopholes in regards to improving family health.

An open session was later conducted where spouses were urged to maintain hygiene ranging from personal to family to community. PHAU along with her partners provided condoms that were distributed to the youth upon teaching them proper condom usage.

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A facilitator shows the community on how to use a condom

With the free blood testing, many locals took to the lab to have their blood tested.

The event closed with performances from celebrated musicians led by Maro and David Lutalo.

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Musician Maro sings the night away

Photo Credit: PHAU Social Media Team

Who Advocates For the Boy Child

During the #Nyaka15 celebrations,  I met a little  boy, his name, Owen. He wants to be a pilot when he grows up. At 6 years of age, I wondered what dreams I carried in my head. Will there be someone to help Owen realize his? This left me thinking, who advocates for the boy child? When you have traveled far away from the city where things look a little glorious, you will be challenged by the many numbers of young boys on the streets.

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Owen on his from fetching water Continue reading

Beware of Self Medication

He asked me to open my mouth for the operation. This was the last surprise slap I expected when I booked an appointment with the dentist on a Sunday morning.
I am one of those people who rarely fall sick. I thank God for that. But there are situations that are hard to explain to self and others, they that qualify you to be sick.
Such are the cases where you only intend to stop by the doctor’s for a check up on this or that once in a long time.
About three weeks ago, I got signs of cough. Like I usually do, I turned to dawa, a tea concoction of lemon, ginger and honey. It usually works our for me. If there is anything I honestly prefer not doing in my life is going to hospital. There is a way hospital makes me feel sick.
After a week of dedication to my dawa, there was no change whatsoever and yet the condition seemed to be going out of hand. My brother, on the other hand, advised me to try out on a herbal called Kazire. I had heard and seen the Kazire products but they had never appealed to me. But for the sake of liberating self of the cough, I did. In fact, it was a reliever for some time.
Ahead of me was a work trip upcountry. On may way, I bit into an apple that left one of my incisors so sensitive. I paid not much attention.
My incisors have since turned a little more sensitive (and weak at the same time) since an accident I got last year.
However, the tooth pain would only continue soaring through all the nerves that cared to carry it through the whole body all day long. On the second day of the work trip, my upper lip (the mustache area was slowly beginning to swell. I could feel it. And so was the lower region of the nose.
Later, it would cross my mind that similar symptoms had shown up in March this year when I had the first operation following last year’s accident.
The dentist had talked of a reaction caused by a tooth fracture. But you know how doctors speak in their lingual like you were classmates at the medical school. What mattered at the moment was to have the pain done away with.
Then it had gone well and I thought that would be the end of it all.
How wrong I was!
On the evening of the second day, I went to a community hospital where I sought medication. The poor nurse only gave me treatment for cough, after all it’s all I had asked of her. The following morning, it was too much. The pain and swelling magnified like they had been newly contracted.

I called the dentist who asked me to get certain medication which was out of reach at the moment. I had to stand the pain. A day later, we travelled back to Kampala and went to the dentist’s the following morning. To his surprise, there was a reaction following the first operation in March.
The aimless cough was the body’s reaction towards the foreign bodies that appear to have been forgotten in the gum during the first operation. He did his work well and I am grateful.
The body fights a lot of battles for the sake of our good health, at times, it loses. Most occasions, it wins. I was warned by the dentist of how gross the condition was likely to get, turning into a cyst and the et cetera of that kind. I don’t want to imagine that.
I am glad that I went for treatment when there was some more time for redemption.
He performed the operation and now I feel better. I can afford to bite the apple again.
If there is something that you should consider, you may have to make that visit to the doctor for a check up.

A letter to my Social Media Friend

Hey buddy,

I hope you are online. I thought I should check out on you.
I’m told you were mad because I didn’t respond instantly to the whatsapp message you left me. And my messenger, has of recent, struggled to receive my attention. Of the dms, those are quite a number. I rarely check. But I am okay.

Instant messages were building a mall in my head and the weight was so unbearable. And when I thought of the recent developments of people throwing each other bullets over a car scratch, I thought I deserved a break from this vibe of trends. But I am fine.

I just learnt to turn off all my notifications to get some breathing space. I was getting asthmatic just grappling with breath.

As you know our online world, it gets super crazy at times. When you find yourself a member of over five whatsapp groups where people work in turns, as one team leaves the chat room another enters. You find the notification thread bleeding with a lot of sweat.  And yet notifications have this sympathy look over the screen of one’s phone that they always invite you into swiping to attend to them only to find that all someone wants of you is to type Amen and forward the message to 12 other people in a record three minutes.

So I have decided to none all of that. To work and be able to respond to the life offline, it’s mine too.

Remember how we cried over the cost of being online. We have since walked closer to uncrying the lament but the hook still hooks deeper.

And in the midst of mine own struggles come the thought of those like me and more so the little ones. Those who still have an excitement of being online.
Them, to whom an internet bundle of UGX 300 still means a life and more.

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