By Kisakye Moureen Feminist Wednesday is so excited to be partnering with Women in Leadership Uganda’s Teen Voices Programme, which encourages teens to write their stories. As a warning, this piece deals with sexual assault -- please take care in reading ahead if you're triggered by the subject. <3
Sheena was my neighbour and my best friend in the village of Kyanfuba, Kaliro district. We used to share everything. But unfortunately, Sheena was not good at education, even though her parents had the money to pay for her school fees. Sheena was beautiful, tall with big dimples when she smiled, and by then she was thirteen years old. However, a forty-year-old man conned Sheena and defiled her.
To be defiled means to violate, in this story the act of defilement is rape.
One day, Sheena was daydreaming under a big tree, and beside her was a jerry can of water. She was on her way to fill it at the well, but had stopped for a short period of time to rest. She was not good at school because was a day dreamer and didn’t pay attention.
When Sheena was getting water from the well, a man in his forties, by the name of Mr Binojjo Samuel, noticed Sheena was getting water from the well. He decided to follow her because he knew that Sheena was a beautiful girl.
Samuel approached Sheena and said, “It’s a shame to see a beautiful girl like you going to the well to carry water. And look at that old dress you are wearing, if you had a little money, you could buy some clothes, then the rich young men would notice you and marry you”.
Mr Samuel moved closer to Sheena and whispered in her ear, “I can help you with the money, my darling, come to my shop at night and we can talk about it.”
Sheena knew that he was suggesting that he should become her sugar daddy (a rich, older man who bestows gifts on a young woman in return for her company or sexual favours), which she didn’t want because he was too old, but she thought that if she could get a few nice things, she could go to Kampala and make a living for herself there. So, Sheena visited his shop every two weeks for three months, however, eventually Mr Samuel asked her to sleep with him in exchange for all the trinkets he had given her. Sheena refused because the man’s age was much too old for her.
One day, Mr Samuel followed Sheena to the well where she was collecting water. He forced himself on Sheena and raped her. At that moment, luckily, three women came to the well to fetch water, and heard noises nearby, so went to investigate. There, they found the richest man in the village defiling Sheena, and they ran and shouted for help. The community members felt sad when they heard about what Mr Samuel did to Sheena, and they promised never to see him again.
Mr Samuel was arrested by the police, and sentenced to ten years in prison. Unfortunately, Mr Samuel was a rich man, and the leaders in charge of him were corrupt. So, the poor family of the young girl Sheena were left in tears because this man who raped their daughter was let out early simply because he paid a lot of money.
Sheena found out she was pregnant from the ordeal, but decided not to abort the baby, who is now three years old. Mr Samuel migrated far away from our area, so he cannot harm anyone here. Sheena is now a farmer and looks after her baby at home.
The government, along with Local Councils, advise some girls to engage in technical institutions, such as hairdressing or tailoring. I believe that if young girls put more emphasis on education, then it is less likely that they will be defiled and abused by old men, because education can improve standard of living, and can inform the girls of what to do in situations such as Sheena’s.
I believe that the government must also introduce universal primary education, so that even children born to poorer parents can still go to school, and gain the knowledge they need to protect themselves. In my community, many girls are seduced and defiled by men like Mr Samuel, because they are from a poorer family, and are tempted by the life that these men offer them. So parents should fight hard against poverty, and fight to educate their daughters.