It’s late but there are things I have to say about 2013

I have been told that after this week, posts about 2013 will be irrelevant. So here is my late 2013 post because there are things about last year that I have to say.

The Save A Breast Campaign: What was that!?!

The amount of energy that went into this was impressive, I must say. There was a Twitter account, a Facebook page and a blog. The mission of the campaign was righteous, but the execution was faulty. Not many men go for breast cancer tests (theirs or those of the women in their lives). Not many men go for antenatal check-ups with their partners, either. So to target men in the campaign was a good idea. A great idea. However, the campaign then turned around and made women the property and responsibility of men.

It made checking for breast cancer about the love of breasts (sexualization of breast cancer, anyone?) and reduced the women to just sexual objects. Because you see, he is going with you for your breast cancer check-up because he wants to save your breasts- for his enjoyment and not for your health. I kid you not. This blogpost listed this as one of the reasons why “Men need to speak up”:

(…) men cannot run away from their love for breasts. They have dedicated categories of entertainment, pleasure, fashion to the preservation and presentation of breasts. They are so important that men classify themselves either as “boob men” or not. Even those that aren’t “boob men” have a preferred size.

Save A Breast

The pictures of breasts could have been okay, but they were accompanied with messages like “They could be yours tomorrow, they could be gone today” [This is true, but bear in mind that this campaign was targeting a male audience] and “Love to stare? Try to care.”

Some shots were even packaged with milk containers.

While the male population should be worried about the rising cases of breast cancer, it would be good to also be invested in knowing that a woman is not a sexual object. It should be about health, we should save the woman. And continuing this tired men-are-responsible-for-women business does not serve anyone.

The Parliament: From the Marriage Bill to the Anti-Pornography bill.

We discussed and discussed the Marriage bill in the first three months of 2013. But when the Parliament was rushing to close business for the holidays, there was no word of it. They passed the 2011 Anti-Pornography Bill though- “to stop sex crimes against women and children.” We, the women, apparently needed it.

There were so many rape cases reported in media and several suspects jailed.

In just that sentence, I have linked eleven different stories from 2013 from three different media houses (There’s one that was reported here on Mon too). There were a lot more cases in the media, reported to police and even more remained unreported. There were several editorials as well, columnists and letters to media that addressed the issue. My favorite was Daniel Kalinaki’s “20 girls defiled daily in Uganda but we see no evil, hear no evil” that was published in his Daily Monitor column on February 28th, 2013.

But you know what happened? The 2011 Anti-Pornography Bill was passed on December 19th. The President is yet to assent to it, so there is hopefully still room to argue against it before it is signed into law. It is difficult to address this Bill because everyone is shouting about how it is not about mini-skirts, it is for the children! Oh the children! I have children in my life that I wish to protect against the evils of pornography. But some of these children of mine are female and I need to protect them against this Bill. This here is my problem:

This Bill seeks to create the offense of pornography which has become an insidious social problem. Pornography is defined in this Bill and it is prohibited because of the dangers it poses to individuals and families and communities. One of the dangers it poses is that it fuels sexual crimes against women and children including rape, child molestation and incest.

First of all, it is sexist. Men get raped too. Second, pornography does not rape women, men and children- people do. Sick people that we need to take to court, charge, rehabilitate, etc.

It reminds one of those words that spewed out of Ronald Kibuule, junior minister in Ministry of Gender (how unfortunate!) during a function at Kajara: “Me I have told even the Police Chief, you shouldn’t even listen to the person who comes to report a rape case, putting on a miniskirt. The intention was: Please why don’t you rape me?” 

Kibuule insulted both men and women of the country, and did not even see it.

You don’t have to say “Rape them!” By making it about the victim and not the crime, you hand the perpetrator reasons/excuses and that is as good as saying “Rape them if…”.

It seems that if the law polices women, everyone is okay with it. But if it gives women any mileage, it is considered a threat to our traditions. Taxpayers’ money went into consultation over these traditions and that Marriage Bill that we discussed and discussed and discussed.

The Sexual Offenses Bill also remains tabled while some called the passing of the Anti-Pornography Bill “a Christmas present.” If that was Christmas, Santa definitely didn’t pass by mine.

“BuTooro busamu basaija makuru?”

There has been all kinds of drama in the Ugandan woman world: from Dr. Specioza Kazibwe’s ex-husband dying (and her divorce being made the main story) to Iryn Namubiru drug drama to Jennifer Musisi’s KCCA politics. Even Nancy Kacungira leaving NTV Uganda had people talking in some places. But I would like to address the Komuntale-Thomas story.

At this point, in the interest of full disclosure, I should probably say that I am a Mubiitokati. I assure you though that I have tried to achieve a level of neutrality on this.

The Princess’ 2012 November marriage was broadcast on Television and when troubles brewed, the media considered this headline news. I have to, unfortunately, turn to a hypersensationalised and possibly untrue quote from an online tabloid to illustrate my point. Please do not take the quote  and accompanying picture that follows to be truth, I only use it as an exaggerated case to demonstrate just how newsy we thought the Princess’ marriage woes were.

It was all my social media timelines talked about- for days. Much longer than the anger at Kibuule lasted.

Princess Komuntale’s failed marriage has broken a record only stories like the Kazini murder or Mubiru sodomy scandal managed to break. The New Vision together with the Red Pepper, two of the country’s most prominent dailies have sold out in Kampala! Leading with the Princess’ marital woes, the newspapers had all been bought by 13:00hrs today. [Source: The Investigator]

There was a TV show!

Women are pretty visible in the arts in Uganda. But we usually have very many woman writers and read a newspaper with male bylines on their lead stories. The dynamics are pretty confusing and we would need a whole new blogpost to work through those.

I have some issues with NTV Uganda’s Deception but for now, I will just say that I was really glad to find my mother watching something Ugandan instead of the numerous South American dramas that she follows. Of course DSTV went on to add a Telemundo channel, but she remains devoted to her Deception doses.



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