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Friday, 27 September 2013

From India to Uganda: When Leaders who should know better blame rape victims instead of rapists: Uganda’s Youth Minister , Ronald Kibuule in spot light over rape remarks.

  Mr Kibule

Hon. Ronald Kibuule. Monitor File Photo.  

First read:

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Women activists hold placards denouncing Mr Kibuule and condemning rape  in Kampala yesterday. 

 Women activists hold placards denouncing Mr Kibuule and condemning rape in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA 

Indecent rape victims to blame, says Youth minister


Posted  Tuesday, September 24  2013 at  01:00

Ntungamo - Rape victims who are dressed indecently have themselves to blame, according to Youth Affairs minister Ronald Kibule.

Addressing youth in Kajara County, Ntungamo District on Saturday, Mr Kibule said the police should instead charge the victims with inviting the crime.

The minister, who was attending the launch of Kajara Youth Development Cooperative and Savings Society, said the police must scrutinise each rape case reported to them to establish the dress code of the victim. He added that once it is established that the victim was indecently dressed, the suspect should be set free.

When this newspaper called him last evening to verify these reports, the minister reiterated his position, noting that indecent dressing was “an open invite to rapists”.

“I have talked to the IGP and the police in Kampala to see that if a woman is raped they look at how she was dressed. Most women currently dress poorly especially the youth. If she is dressed poorly and is raped, no one should be arrested,” Mr Kibule said.

Asked to define what amounted to indecent dressing, the minister, who is also Mukono North MP, listed mini-skirts, bikinis and tight jeans.

The minister’s comments on rape have drawn immediate criticism, especially from women activists, with one female MP advising Mr Kibule to “have self-control”. “I don’t support wearing of miniskirts but on the other hand a man who is normal cannot go and rape a woman because she is putting on a miniskirt. He should have self-control,” said Mbarara Woman MP Emma Boona. “It’s not written anywhere in the laws. How does he measure a mini skirt? Does he himself rape indecently dressed women he sees?”

Ms Rita Aciro, the executive director at Uganda Women’s Network, said: “It is unfortunate that we have such leaders in this country. Does he know that there are laws in this country against rape? He is obviously misleading many men by saying that it is okay for them to go ahead and rape women who put on short skirts. Mr Kibule should come out and issue an apology to the people of this country. We live in a civil society that respects people’s rights.”

Nothing can justify rape

The minister of state for Youth Affairs, Ronald Kibuule, was on Wednesday put on the spot in Parliament to clarify his remarks that women who dress indecently deserve to be raped.

Speaking at a youth event in Ntungamo district earlier, the minister had reportedly said that police should cross-check the backgrounds of rape cases to eliminate those ‘provoked’ by women dressed in miniskirts, bikinis and tight jeans.

In Parliament, Kibuule denied he had made the said remarks but an audio recording now available on social networks indicates he actually did. In any case it would not be surprising because this minister has made similar remarks before.

Rape is a crime, period, and thus no one deserves to be raped. Nothing justifies it, not even nudity, Mr Kibuule. It’s a shame that Uganda has a leader at such high level, who would rather blame rape on the victim.

Would he in the same vein blame robbery on the fact that the victim didn’t lock his house? Is that his logic?

It’s even more disturbing that Kibuule is minister responsible for youth, most of whom find miniskirts, bikinis and tight jeans trendy - which is not a crime. More so, the youth docket is under the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, which is charged with promoting gender equity, among other goals.

Yet the minister’s remarks clearly show he is in the wrong job. Sometime back, Parliament resisted the appointment of Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere to the same ministry because some MPs felt that his earlier position on the Domestic Relations Bill made him the wrong choice.

Similarly, Kibuule’s controversial position on women’s dress choices versus rape makes him unworthy of such an office. The sooner his appointing authority realises that, the better.

Above all, leaders like Kibuule must be held accountable for whatever they say in public. They can’t afford to simply shoot off their mouths at will because words, especially those uttered by leaders, can have serious consequences.

Rights activists demand Kibuule’s resignation


Posted  Thursday, September 26  2013 at  01:00
Women rights activists and the youth yesterday joined a growing chorus of Ugandans calling for the resignation of the Youth Affairs minister, Mr Ronald Kibuule, over his recent remarks that women who dress indecently and are raped should be charged.

The Uganda Women’s Network, (UWONET), a consortium of women activists and youth groups said the minister should take personal responsibility and resign as well as apologise to Ugandans over what they called “irresponsible remarks”.

Addressing journalists in Kampala yesterday, the activists said they would petition Parliament and President Museveni to sack Mr Kibuule. “The minister is a disgrace to the youth of this country and he misrepresents government and laws of this country. He must take personal responsibility by resigning and apologising to the women, particularly the youth. He needs a sense of reflection and he should not make us believe he is a potential rapist,” said Ms Rita Aciro, the UWONET executive director.

Ms Tina Musuya, the Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP) executive director, said the minister must be called to order since he swore to uphold the Constitution. “Uganda ratified the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women which requires countries to refrain from engaging in any act or practice of discrimination against women, including rape. We were, however, shocked and concerned by the minister’s utterances and he must resign,” said Ms Musuya.

Mr Julius Mukunda, an official of the Forum for Women in Democracy, questioned the impunity of leaders in the country and demanded an apology from the minister. Ms Brenda Kugonza, CEDOVIP’s deputy executive director, said they would petition Parliament this week to ensure that action is taken against the minister.

The youth led by Ms Alice Kobusingye, the head of Makerere University students guild ministry of women, accused the minister of inciting men to rape women.

While addressing youth in Ntungamo District, Mr Kibuule is quoted to have said the police should scrutinise all rape case to ascertain how the victims were dressed, adding that if found to have been indecent, they should instead be charged for “inviting rape”.

The minister yesterday said he does not condone rape. He said indecent dressing exposes women to rapists. “The issue was, however, blown out of context,” he said, vowing not to resign.

Hon minister, rape is about power, not dress style

Thursday, 26 September 2013 22:34


One would think that a youth affairs minister in any country would be an individual who could be held up as an example to all those youngsters that he or she serves.

Perhaps in the case of Uganda, it would be better if young people in the country did not subscribe to the views of minister, Ronald Kibuule.

According to a Daily Monitor article, Minister Kibuule suggests that when a rape is reported, the police should assess how the victim was dressed.

Should it be found that she was wearing miniskirts, tight jeans, bikinis or other ‘indecent’ items, the aggressor should be freed. This trend of ‘victim blaming’ has become a sickness which seems to have taken over the world.

In Uganda, for many years civil society organisations, the media and survivors of rape have spoken out about the treatment by authorities and the police, of women who report a rape.

Rose, (name changed), is 32. Weeks before she was due to get married, she boarded a taxi home at 9pm. as she alighted and began the two-minute walk to her house, three men followed her and began making inappropriate remarks.

One put his hand on her mouth and pulled her into the bush on the side of the road. What followed was a harrowing ordeal where she was pushed to the ground, the first man forcing himself upon her, his weight making it impossible for her to move while his hand covered her mouth.

Her clothes were ripped off, she was continuously raped by the three men who scratched and bruised her body in the process. After this, they punched her in the face, leaving her with a black eye and bleeding nose.

“Since then, I’ve become a living corpse, not only because of what they did to me, but because of the number of people that blamed me for wearing fitted jeans and heels that day. The first question so many people asked was: ‘what were you wearing?’”

Had she been covered up, she wondered, “would their alcohol-fuelled sick minds not have chased me?”

The most painful moment for Rose was when she finally made it home that night and sat in front of her mother and father and described what had happened.

“Imagine as a father to see your daughter in that state, to have to hear that men touched her in that way, witnessing his pain was far worse than what I had suffered.“

Her wedding was called off and she found it impossible to continue with her interior design business. Now, she spends most of her time inside her house, too afraid to go outside for fear of it happening again and the stigma. Unfortunately, the lax attitude of the police has meant that those men are still out there.

Then there is Lucy, a 24-year-old Christian who did not believe it was right to have sex before marriage. One afternoon when most of her colleagues were away on a retreat, she went to use the bathroom in the office.

A senior manager followed her in, pushed her up against the wall, and raped her. He was so rough with her that she ended up with internal tearing and bleeding, followed by a pregnancy which led to even more trauma when she miscarried at seven months.

She said: “When I threatened to report him, he said: You are responsible for distracting me, this is your fault.’ Though it is irrelevant, I will say that I always wore full suits to work.”

Within days, Lucy was fired from the company, found out she was pregnant and was disowned by her family. “It was not just rape, it was death. For my parents, their daughter died that day.

They kept finding ways to suggest I was responsible and when the news of my pregnancy came through, they asked me to leave,” Lucy said.

“I lost the baby and continue to struggle financially. How is it ever a woman’s fault when a man does something that inhumane?”

These two women were in vastly different types of clothing on the day they were raped, yet they share one similarity, they were subjected to an appalling and abhorrent violation of their basic rights.

Numerous studies have shown that rape is not about lust, it is about power, control and violence. It is not about a woman arousing a man by the way she looks or dresses.

One may also refer to male-on-male rape; what un-Godly errors is the victim likely to have done in that case?

Clothing is someone’s personal expression and if a resignation does come through, then it is suggested to the junior minister for Youth that he does not take up a job as a fashion advisor.

The Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie once said: “We make girls feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something”.

This is exactly what happens every time it is suggested that the way a woman dresses is responsible for her being raped. Perhaps one day, it will be said that being a woman means that you are responsible for attracting rapists.

In blaming women, frankly all you have done is to empower a generation of rapists who will never take responsibility. Because, to such men, the wearing of a short skirt is an unspoken way of saying: “push yourself upon me, spread my legs open, force yourself in while I scream for mercy, share me with your friends, infect me with every illness you have, hit me a few times when you are done, take away my dignity and then tell me that I asked for it.”

Who knew clothes could talk?

The author is a British citizen who has lived and worked in Uganda.