Sexual Abuse Still Crippling The Girl Child

By Zahra Abigaba

Rape chai

When Monica Mirembe (not real name) was four years old, her mother walked out of her marriage, leaving her only child behind with a father who abused her sexually.

“Whenever my father would bathe me, he would touch my private parts and at night we used to share the same bed,” Mirembe, now 14, said.

She said this went on until family members intervened and took her to stay with her grandfather, who, however, was no different from her father.

“I thought this was normal and every girl was supposed to go through it.”

Her grandfather molested her until she conceived; that is when community members and police intervened and arrested him. He died in prison and, unfortunately, that only compounded her misery and she was soon thrown out of his home by vengeful relatives.

Mirembe and her six-week-old baby ended up at Remnet – Generation centre. Caretakers at the centre say what Mirembe went through damaged her psychologically and they plan to take her to hospital; at the age of 14 she is still stuck in a four-year-old’s body. She still plays with toys.

Mirembe is among many sexually abused girls, yet few ever get justice or help. Claire Atuhaire (not real name), from Kiruhura, was defiled at 12 years by her 35-year-old neighbour. Her father’s silence was bought for Shs 50,000.

But word got out and the community mounted pressure on her father, but the man who defiled her escaped, leaving her pregnant.

“My father did not take [the humiliation] well so, he forced me out of the house. A good Samaritan connected me to the Remnet – Generation centre.”

Atuhaire endured a grueling 36-hour labour that ended with an emergency C-section, to bring baby Emmanuel Miracle into this world.

“Atuhaire is promising and brilliant girl; so, we are taking her back to school,” Annabella Nakabiri, the executive director and founder of Remnant – Generation center, said.

The crisis pregnancy center rescues and rehabilitates sexually abused girls and teenage mothers. Nakabiri understands too well the trauma these girls deal with daily; she is a survivor of child marriage and was also sexually abused. She was born into a polygamous family and had to work her way through school.

“I used to do all sorts of odd jobs like washing people’s clothes, fetching water, tilling gardens and food vending in order to raise school fees,” Nakabiri said.

Source: allafrica.com

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