April was sexual assault awareness month and many stories were shared across myriad forums. Shirts were made, protests organized and blog posts written (I got to know about it from Chatter).
I read about unrape; a situation where somebody makes you feel vulnerable and used by negatively altering your psyche, perception of self or your ability to make decisions. One example of unrape is when your significant other threatens you with a ticket to celibacy town for suggesting birth control. Another fairly common one is when your supervisor calls your intercom just to breathe heavily into it.
People of all ages and sexes suffer assault but females, unlike males, do not get less vulnerable with the passing of time. From childhood to maidenhood to motherhood to cronehood, the risk of assault that females face remains the same while for guys, their deepening voices, growing muscles and elongating legs form a shield between them and most lechers. Men in our society are also brought up to believe that they have every right to any woman that they see, regardless of whether or not she encourages their attentions.
For objectivity’s sake, I asked 6 men and 6 women about how their average day moving around Kampala goes. All of the men’s responses can be summed up in, “Meh. Nothing special. I do what I’m there for and go home. The jam sucks though”
The women, “It’s really crowded…normalreally, apart from those random men who disturb you.”
There. An 11 year old boy, by virtue of having testicles, is better equipped to navigate this city than I am. As long as I walk around with a male, I pass by taxi stops, boda stages and walk the streets unmolested but the moment he leaves my side, all kinds of lechers spring to life and commence tongue waggling, hissing and pawing. They start to make kissing sounds and act generally vulgar, in a way that they wouldn’t have dared to behave if I had a man/boy by my side.
On the 30TH of March (I remember because that was the day Eric Wainaina was performing at Jazzville), I saw a guard at City Oil-Kamwokya violently shovea woman away from where she was standing. He claimed that she had no right to wait for a taxi there and she protested his methods of communicating this to her. All of a sudden, he lifted his gun, cocked it and threatened to shoot her and anybody else who dared to question his actions. He kept shouting, “I don’t care! I’ll kill you! I’ll fuck you. I don’t care!”
There were two policemen at the roundabout just a few meters away but except for a couple of bored glances from them, the scuffle went interrupted.
The disinterest those police exhibited is not surprising. They’ve already shown that all their priorities lie in grabbing and manhandling everything that we consider private and sacred from our bodies to the lives bubbling in them to our wallets; all this with full support of our policy makers.
Kampala City is teeming with lechers and abusive idlers, something that KCCA need s to fix even more urgently than our pothole riddled roads for the sake of our mental health and the safety of these louts (we women are about to get violent). On to you, Ms. Musisi.