Gomba West Legislator Hon. Rwakoojo Robina has urged communities to use the law and punish perpetrators of sexual violence in institutions of learning and have their certificates of service revoked. She made this recommendation during a tweet-chat on the just concluded inquiry into sexual violence in institutions of higher learning.
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Inquiry into Allegations of Sexual Violence based its investigation on institutions of learning in Uganda. The inquiry arose from a motion presented to Parliament by Hon. Anna Adeke Ebaju, (National Female Youth Representative) who was prompted by the many alarming media reports of gross acts of sexual violence in institutions of learning at all levels.
Hon. Rwakoojo said that in the execution of the Inquiry, the Committee employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches to collect and analyse the information received from various stakeholders. She said that 39 institutions comprising of government ministries, agencies and departments, professional bodies, civil society organisations and three individuals interfaced with her committee. In addition, the Committee visited a total of thirty-three (33) institutions of learning comprising of eleven (11) primary schools, eleven (11) secondary schools, two (2) primary teachers’ colleges and nine (9) Universities where it interfaced with the administration of the institutions, learners and district officials from whom it elicited vital information, forming the basis of the recommendations in the report. Public hearings where twenty-one (21) witnesses appeared and testified and reviewed relevant literature on the subject matter were held.
When asked on the extent of sexual violence in the institution of learning, the MP said that the committee found out that sexual violence is widespread in virtually all the institutions of learning visited. 39 percent of the respondents interviewed from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions said that they had personally experienced some form of sexual violence or harassment or knew of classmates and peers who had experienced it.
Hon. Anthony Okello MP, also a member of the committee, when asked on why the vice is widespread said that there are numerous limitations and the interventions to fight this evil are lacking. He added that many of the people in our communities are ignorant about sexual violence and others have gone as far as normalising it. He was however glad that clinical officers and medical doctors are now allowed to fill in Form 3 is that is given to a victim sexual violence after an assessment by the Police.
The committee also noted that sexual violence in institutions of learning is majorly perpetuated by teaching staff and students/pupils. As per their sample space, at primary leve1, 36 percent were prominent perpetrators. At the secondary level, 30 percent of the respondents reported male teachers, 25 percent reported female students and 22 percent reported male students as the major perpetrators of sexual violence. In universities and tertiary institutions, 42 percent of the respondents indicated that male lecturers were the perpetrators. Hon. Rwakoojo was disgruntled by these statistics and said it’s rather unfortunate that the people parents with their children abuse this trust and end up destroying the lives of innocent children.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga urged the members to first read and internalise the report by the Select Committee before it is discussed on the floor of the house.