By Flavia Ajok
Human rights activists in Hoima district have expressed concern at the alarming rates of incest involving teenage girls since the closure of schools in Kyabigambire Sub County.
Incest refers to sexual relations between close relatives like a parent to child, brother and sister, uncle/aunt with nephew or niece.
With the onset of COVID-19, incest has become a prominent issue in families with children becoming silent victims and majority teenage pregnancies being linked to the vice.
Catherine Kamanyire Kobusinge, the Executive Director for Hoima Network of Child Rights Club (HONECRIC) in Hoima district, says of the sexual cases they received recently, over 20 percent of these are of incest including girls who have been sexually abused by their fathers, uncles and nephews.
Kamanyire says in some instances, these cases go unreported because mothers conceal such incidents for fear of embarrassing their families in public.
In other cases, Kansiime says some family members deliberately neglect acts of incest and leave the victims traumatized.
She called on stakeholders to ensure better protection for the girl-child in a bid to ensure proper growth and development.
This was revealed during celebrations to mark the International Men’s Day celebrations for Hoima district held at Kyabigambire sub county headquarters in Hoima district on Friday under the theme “Better relations between Men and Women”.
Pius Wakabi Rujumba, the Bugahya County MP says some cases of incest are partly caused by poverty noting that in some instances some children from poor families are forced to have sexual intercourse with family members who have some money such that they can find something for their families.
Phillip Katahoire, the Minister for Diaspora and Foreign Affairs in Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has condemned the acts of incest saying such acts are illegal in Bunyoro and the perpetuators need to be punished.
Speaking as Chief Guest, Katahoire said there is need to sensitise the public on Bunyoro culture and norms such that such vices are never heard off in the region. He also rallied the kingdom subjects to work towards eradicating poverty.
The celebrations were organised by Reproductive Health Uganda, RHU. During the commemoration, the public was implored to support and participate in programs that address the mind-set and gender biases that affect male involvement in health programs, to speak out against practices that undermine male involvement and advocate and uphold human rights for all.