Its in the late evening. Its windy, with light drizzles and the dry leaves continue to slide on the hard surface. A drive through the city, young girls cling onto car windows in the traffic jam begging for a coin or two.
These girls are innocent and there are always these arguments on where they came from. Some of their mothers say that they are orphans from the Moroto and Karamoja. These claims have been doubted by many and also believed by many.
There are also many under age girls in the city who have been reduced to begging status, while others are used as sex slaves. In a country like Uganda where statistics of underage sex solicitors are scarce, its hard to tell how many of these girls are engaged in such activities.
Growing up, women’s day was always a special day. It’s the day my guardian auntie would stay away from the kitchen and we would attempt our cooking skills as the children of the house. Cooking and doing the daily house chores was left only to us. In a special way, we’d also learn about the plight of women in the country.
This day for me was always a fun day. Every year I got to understand why this day was special on the calendar. It’s a public holiday to celebrate what the women have achieved but also to be constantly reminded that there are vast challenges that women face in this country.
There are horrific stories of how some male bosses solicit for sex before they offer any lady a job. These cases are swept under the rag most of the time and in this modern day many of these men try as much as possible to keep their hands clean.
Somehow there is always this man ready to pounce on these women and mostly those who are vulnerable. I happen to have a special “brother” whose mother is deaf and dumb but someone had the courage to rape her. She clearly cannot afford to take care of such a child and by the time he was brought home, he was close to death. His rib bones were visible, he had sunken cheeks and could hardly eat. She was a rape victim but she had no voice and the man is somewhere lavishing. With no shame and he is probably ready to pounce on any other woman.
We celebrate the women in legislation, media and in influential positions but there is still work to do as day in day out rape cases are still on the rise in some areas. Empowering women alone cannot solve the problem but through collective action. Cases of human trafficking of women to Dubai and Malaysia to go and work in brothels have been read but have not been taken seriously on our newspaper front pages. Who are these traffickers? What sort of punishment do they deserve? Are they part of huge trafficking ring? These are questions that need to be answered.
Rape, defilement, sexual harassment, under-age prostitution and domestic violence, still exist in society and this is the probably the best time to expose them. Its fight that needs to move forward and play the role in making sure women and girls find comfort in the world they live in. It may not be easy, but what have you as person done so far?
The government still has work to do but so do we. What have you done to make the world/ your country a better place for women/girls to live in?
As the achievements are being celebrated we’ve got to remember there is still a long way way to go for most of the women. Things like domestic violence, rape, defilement and sex slavery still exist.