An alternative response to a shocking letter in The New Vision

Yesterday, we came across this story in The New Vision. A woman was seeking help. I am going to offer an alternative response drafted with the help of an equally shocked friend- because we have come to the realisation that Uganda, as a nation, has lost her ability to be appalled as one can see from the headline and the counsellor’s polite response.

This below was her note:

My husband has impregnated a 15-year-old girl and our family is almost breaking up due to lack of peace. Please help.

Anonymous

This is our offered response.

Dear Anonymous,

Please call 0414233814 or 0414250613. If you have no airtime, you can also reach the Police by dialing 999 or 112 from a mobile phone. You can also report at your Local Council offices.

We will grant you anonymity in the publication of this note, but please be informed that we have taken the liberty to avail your contact details to the law enforcers as it is our duty to report crime. Don’t wait for them to call you either because habouring a criminal is also a crime in this country.

Rest assured that we shall follow up with you on this. Should police fail to help you, we shall contact higher authorities.

Fellow Citizens

P.S He did not impregnate her. He defiled her. Repeat after me “DEFILED.” Allow yourself to be shocked by the crime. Do not be complacent or use softer words to excuse it.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “An alternative response to a shocking letter in The New Vision

  1. Becky, this is disturbing at so many levels. First, am appalled that the first concern here is the pregnancy (a visible result of an invisible and insidious crime against the child). I do understand the wife’s outrage but then my sympathy runs short when she leads the call to help with the family’s peace of mind as the most important piece. The counselors’ advise about the wife finding a way to keep the husband can easily be misconstrued (or may be it is not) to mean “protecting the perpetrator” and inadvantently places the blame on the 15 year old. The teenager who is the most helpless victim is hardly mentioned. After reading your post, the first things that came to mind…besides calling the police…were: who is looking after her? What has been happening to her prior to the pregnancy? How many times has she been subjected to the defilement before the visible result (pregnancy)? If she did not get pregnant would anyone be concerned and what actions would they take? Why are we as a society always more outraged at the end result (in this case the pregnancy) but hardly raise an issue at the causes (in this case a grown man defiling a child)? Why is our first instinct to protect the adults with power rather than the vulnerable without? How often is that 15year old being ridiculed for being pregnant? Many times am certain.

    It seems to me that if we are going to give advice in this situation it ought it be balanced. a) We have somebody’s child who needs to be protected (actually two children if we count the unborn child). b) We have a family that has to deal with a husband who defiled that child. c) We have a husband who needs to be held accountable for the crime and probably get therapy. d) And then the proximal community’s response to the crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rose, you are absolutely right. I was so mad about how everyone just went into how the lady had to work on her marriage and figure out why her husband “cheated on her” that I was more concerned about emphasising that a crime had been committed.

      But Police is also supposed to follow up with the child. Although if we were to be honest about our structures, I would say the girl is probably going to get the worst end of the bargain. It is essential for us as a society to be appalled by defilement and remember it is a crime. The comments on this story were shocking. Only one person called out the defilement and questioned choice (if a minor can even give choice) saying that we should find out if this was rape.

      But yes, we also need to think of the children. I do hope that this young girl comes from a supportive family and community. As a teen mother, straddling both childhood and motherhood, she is going to need support and rehabilitation.

      Like

Add to the conversation. Tell us what you're thinking.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s