ADDRESSING SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THE UNIVERSITY: HOW DO WE PREVENT AND PUNISH SEXUAL VIOLENCE AT CAMPUSES

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Abstract

Sexual violence is a common human rights violation among campus students. Students within the university, faculty committees, and members of staff are not only involved in sexual violence, but also in addressing its causes. This thesis describes sexual violence victimization and perpetration awareness, its relationship with human right and punitive measures accorded to it in a sample of 150-university students. A cross sectional survey design was used to contact students through voluntary gatherings. Eighty-four percent of the sample i.e. (n=126) were between the ages of 18-24. A gendered sample of 54.7% (n=82) and 45.3 % (n=68) of females and males respectively, was selected. Categorically a 66.7% (n=100) sample of third year students was selected compared to the 16.7% (n=25) and 16.7 %( n=25) of the second and first year students respectively. Five key informants were interviewed due to their expertise in the field of sexual violence.

 

The study found out that most common occurrences of sexual violent acts at Makerere were; sexual bullying, coercive sex and rape, unsolicited physical contacts and unwanted kisses and assaults, and insecurity among undergraduate students. It also revealed that a 36% (n=54) of the respondents did not know anything about the policy and procedure of the university on sexual violence. Criminal law was identified as a very important instrument in preventing and punishing sexual violence, but it is unreliable when it comes to implementation. The study continually revealed that there is a significant relationship between human rights norms and sexual violent acts. Social deviations like; moral decay, indecent dress code, poverty and greed for money, and drug abuse have led to justifiability of sexual violence. A very important human rights prerequisite known as presumption of innocence is respected to a varying degree when handling suspects of violence attached to sexual acts. There is an overwhelming agreement by respondents that Uganda has not fulfilled its mandate in addressing matters of sexual violence.

 

The study recommends the need to increase sensitisation and awareness on sexual violence institutionally among students at Makerere University, the need for the government of Uganda to invoke state obligation to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence as per Articles 2 and 3,of CEDAW. This study points to the need to increase sensitisation and awareness of sexual violence, imperativeness  of presumption of innocence in relation to  article 17(1) of the Makerere Sexual Harassment policy, and the need to allocate more funds to the prevention and punishment of sexual violence by the government and the universities. Introduction of a situational approach to sexual violence, building-based intervention (e.g., use of building-based restraining orders) is also needed. This will confront the silence, of unwanted sexual experiences and help move campuses toward an adequate response. And conclusively, justifications of violence against victims which is referred to as 'victim blaming' should be dealt with in further research as a preventive measure to escalation rather than deescalation of sexual violence in university campuses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT ............................................................................................. III LIST OF TABLES .................................................................................. VIII

1.0  CHAPTER ONE ........................................................................................ 1 1.1  INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................... 1

1.2  Research questions ......................................................................................................... 3 1.3  Problem statement.......................................................................................................... 3

1.4 Hypothesis. ........................................................................................................................ 5 CHAPTER TWO ........................................................................................... 6

2.0  LITERATURE REVIEW ......................................................................... 6

2.1  Introduction: The Nature, Perception and Reactions to Sexual    Violence at

Universities. .......................................................................................................................... 6

2.1.1 Campus coercive sex or rape......................................................................................... 6

2.1.2 A case of Makerere University. ..................................................................................... 6

2.1.3 Violence against learners with disability ...................................................................... 9

2.2  University Policy on Sexual Harassment Makerere University ................................. 9 2.3 University campus policy on sexual violence in the United States ............................ 11 2.4  Criminalisation of sexual violence in Uganda ........................................................... 12 2.5  Challenges to policy and legal controls against sexual violence ............................... 13 2.6  Uganda's Obligation under International Law on Eliminating Sexual Violence ... 15 2.7  Reaffirmation of the dignity and respect of Human Rights:  The Challenges

arising from Justifications of Sexual Violence. ............................................................... 18

2.7.1 Normative Reasons for Sexual Violence Occurrence ................................................ 18

2.8  Towards a Human Rights Based Approach to Sexual Violence .............................. 19

3.0  CHAPTER THREE ................................................................................. 23

METHODOLOGY............................................................................................ 23

3.1  Introduction .................................................................................................................. 23 3.2 Participants .................................................................................................................... 23 3.3 Procedure ....................................................................................................................... 24 3.4 Data collection ............................................................................................................... 24 3.5  Data processing and analysis ....................................................................................... 24

3.5.1 Thematic categorization .............................................................................................. 24

3.6  Editing ........................................................................................................................... 25 3.7  Tabulation ..................................................................................................................... 25 3.8  Direct quotations .......................................................................................................... 25 3.9  Ethical Considerations ................................................................................................. 25

3.9.1 Challenges And How They Were Mitigated. .............................................................. 26

4.0  CHAPTER FOUR .................................................................................... 27

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ................................................................. 27

4.1  Introduction .................................................................................................................. 27 4.2  The Nature, Perception and Reactions to Sexual Violence at Universities. ............ 30

4.2.1 The nature ................................................................................................................... 30 4.2.2 Perception of Sexual Acts as Human rights Violations .......................................... 31 4.2.3 Awareness of victimhood. .......................................................................................... 32

4.3  Friends of respondents engaging in sexual violence .................................................. 32

4.4.1 Number of times respondents have been victims of sexual violent acts. ............... 33 4.4.2 The knowledge on the number of times friends of respondents were victimised. 34 4.4.3 Victims protection scheme ......................................................................................... 35 4.4.4 The nature of violent sex offenders ........................................................................... 36 4.4.5 No-contact enforcement awareness .......................................................................... 36 4.4.6 The ability to report sexual violent acts ................................................................... 37 4.4.7 Victims of sexual violence .......................................................................................... 38 4.4.8 Effectiveness of assistance in cases of sexual violence ............................................. 38 4.4.9 Key causes of sexual violence in Makerere University ........................................... 39 4.5.1 University policies on sexual harassment Makerere University ............................ 40 4.5.2 Effectiveness of sexual assault policy and procedure .............................................. 41 4.5.3 Preventing and punishing sexual violence ............................................................... 42 4.5.4 Acts Considered As Human Rights Violations in Makerere Campus................... 43 4.5.5 The University Policy for countering Sexual Violence and protecting Human

Rights .................................................................................................................................. 44

4.5.6 Recommendability of the University Policy ............................................................. 44 4.5.7 The fairness of the university policy and procedures on sexual violence to the

suspects. .............................................................................................................................. 45

4.6  Criminalisation of sexual violence in Uganda ........................................................... 46

4.6.1 Law against sexual violence in Uganda ..................................................................... 46

4.6.2 Satisfaction with criminal law's ability to prevent and punish sexual violence at

the university ..................................................................................................................... 47

4.6.3 Criminal law as a useful tool in dealing with sexual violence at universities ....... 48

4.7  Challenges to policy and legal controls against sexual violence ............................... 49

4.7.1 Main challenges to sexual violence criminalisation in Uganda ............................... 49

4.7.2 Uganda's Obligation under International Law on Eliminating Sexual Violence . 50 4.7.3 The Way Uganda Deals with Sexual Violence Issues .............................................. 50 4.7.4 Uganda's challenges to its international obligation fulfillment .............................. 51

4.8 The philosophical and theoretical foundations of human rights: ............................. 52

4.8.1 The language that emphasises human rights is the only tool that can be used to

prevent sexual violence in universities ............................................................................ 52

4.8.2 Justifications for sexually assaulting university students by fellow students ....... 53

5.0  CHAPTER FIVE ..................................................................................... 55

5.1  Conclusions ................................................................................................................... 55

5.1.2 Recommendations ....................................................................................................... 57

6.0  REFERENCES: ....................................................................................... 59 6.1 BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................................................... 63

APPENDICES: ............................................................................................ 67

Appendix 1 .............................................................................................................................. 67 Self administered questionnaire for criminology students................................................. 67

APPENDIX II .......................................................................................... 72 SELF ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE FOR ETHICS AND

HUMAN RIGHTS STUDENTS .................................................................. 72

APPENDIX III ........................................................................................ 78 INTERVIEW GUIDES FOR KEY INFORMANTS .............................. 78

           

 

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1:  Represents the age category of the respondents under study. .................................. 28 Table 2:  Represents the sexual violent acts as perceived by students to be human rights violations. 31

Table 3: Shows friends who are perpetrators ........................................................................... 33

Table 4 :  Awareness of victims' protection scheme. ............................................................ 35

Table 5 : Awareness of perpetrators ........................................................................................ 36

Table 6: Reporting ability ................................................................................................... 37

Table 7: Victims' assistance department. ........................................................................... 38

Table 8: Represents the number of students who may or may not recommend invocation of

university policy on prevention of victimisation. .................................................................... 45 Table 9:  Knowledge of laws on sexual violence .................................................................. 46

Table 10:  Presents the challenges to criminalisation of sexual violence. ............................ 49 Table 11:  Presents the contentment respondents have towards Uganda's solutions to sexual violence. 50

Table 12:  Shows what respondents thought about sexual violence ..................................... 52

 

       LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1 : Presents counts of the sample population by sex. ................................................... 27

Figure 2: Year of study of respondents .................................................................................... 29

Figure 3: Shows the type of sexual violent acts take place within the university. .................. 30

Figure 4: Represents awareness of victimisation of those people close to the respondents. ... 32

Figure 5: Shows the times respondents have been victims of sexual violent acts ................... 34

Figure 6: Victimisation of respondents' friends ....................................................................... 35

Figure 7: No-contact enforcement awareness ..................................................................... 37

Figure 8: Nature of sexual violence assistance ........................................................................ 39

Figure 9: Causes of sexual Violence at Makerere University ............................................. 40

Figure 10: Sexual assault prevention policy and procedure .................................................... 41

Figure 11: Performance of the sexual assault policy and procedure ....................................... 41

Figure 12: preventing and punishing sexual violence.............................................................. 42

Figure 13: Acts that Makerere students consider human rights violation ............................... 43 Figure 15: Represents what students think about the human rights in the university policy in

dealing with sexual violence. ............................................................................................. 44 Figure 16: Presents the rate of fairness of the university policy and procedures .................... 45

Figure 17: Presents the effectiveness of criminal law in addressing sexual violence ............. 47

Figure 18: Shows how important Criminal law is to sexual violence prevention at universities

.............................................................................................................................................. 48

Figure 19: Presents what people think about Uganda's international obligations. .................. 50

Figure 20:  Represents the challenges to Uganda's international obligation. ........................ 51

Figure 21:  Shows students' thinking about the rights language in preventing sexual violence

                              52

Figure 22: Reasons why sexual violence is persistent ............................................................. 53

CHAPTER ONE

 

1.1          INTRODUCTION

 

Sexual violence is a pervasive and devastating spectrum of sexual behaviours that are imposed on an unwilling recipient that results in physical, psychological and social consequences (Christensen, 2013 :1444 & 1445). Nearly two-thirds of college students experience some type of sexual harassment. The few sexual harassment cases that are pursued as a legal matter—those that reach the front pages of newspapers—are simply the tip of the iceberg (Hill and Silva, 2005 :2). Reports of aggressive and intimidating behaviour, unsolicited physical contact such as touching, kissing and groping, assault, sexual bullying, coercive sex and rape are all components of sexual violence  applicable to sexual relationships between teachers and learners, or learners and learners (Garnets et al., 1990 :309). Makerere University Sexual Harassment policy defines sexual violence in terms of sexual harassment which means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours or unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature '' (...)'' (Makerere University Senate, 2006 : 6, art. 4 (1)

 

Article 2(b) of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)  Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, defines violence as but not limited to physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution.[1] This definition thus engulfs the wider definitions by other organisations as revealed in the preceding part of the thesis. Attention to the sexual victimization of college women, however, also has been prompted by the rising fear that college campuses are not ivory towers but, instead, have become hot spots for criminal activity (Fisher et al., 2000 :1).

 

From another perspective, the World Health Organisation Working Report of 1996 defines violence as, “The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development or deprivation.” This particular definition encompasses all types of violence and covers the wide range of acts of commission and omission that constitute violence and outcomes beyond deaths and injuries” (Krug et al., 2002 :1084). Victims of violence are at risk of psychological and behavioural problems, including depression, alcohol abuse, anxiety, and suicidal behaviour, and reproductive health problems, such as sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and sexual dysfunction (Krug et al., 2002 :1085). In respect to this definition, I tend seek to find ways of dealing with negative connotations of sexual violence in my thesis.

 

Available research demonstrates that the study of sexual assault has come full circle and is no longer ignored; talk of incest, rape, and date rape are everyday occurrences in the media and have even become litmus tests for cultural critics. Although public and professional recognition and acceptance of the magnitude of these social problems has increased tremendously, the research base in many ways is still in its infancy. Early research on sexual assault, though often anecdotal, began to reveal the significant, damaging effects suffered by victims (Arata and Burkhart, 1996 :79& 80).  An important impediment to studying the negative sequelae of sexual victimization is that the preponderance of women who have experienced sexual contact that meets the legal or research criteria for rape, attempted rape, or unwanted sexual contact, do not label their experiences as such and may never come to the attention of researchers or therapists (Cleere and Lynn, 2013 :2594).

 

How to deal with such victimisation and the so-called ‘lad culture’, prevalent in many colleges lies in the realm of preventive and punitive mechanisms, I suggest. Take note that, the primary prevention of sexual violence is particularly important because it is one of the most difficult crimes to detect, deter, police or punish. This prevention to date, has focused on persistent efforts over the past 30 years, to render sexual violence a visible concern of the public and the state by challenging the idea that it is a private matter (Carmody, 1992 :200). Thus, the question of how private matters conjoined to sexual violence ought to be considered private. The answer is 'limited privacy' in order to address the violence attached to such issues as the thesis clarifies in the chapters that follow. In their study Dansky et al., reported 13.6% of the respondents had experienced rape at some point during their lives. The lifetime prevalence rates for sexual molestation, nonsexual contact/ attempted assault, and aggravated assault were as follows: 2.%, 9.5%, and 8.9%, respectively (Dansky et al., 1997 :219). This thus reiterates the need to not to limit sexual violence issues to privacy but to publicity. In light of these lessons and out of the "need to create some way ahead," (Steeves, 1999),  the following  research topic is not only timely but unduly and extremely important especially in the context of sexual violence in university campuses, which has shown increased attention in earlier years.

1.2            Research questions

In order to answer the main research question on how to prevent and punish sexual violence in university campuses, I sought to describe the nature, perception, and response of and to sexual violence acts that are manifest and latent among university students. After which I identified the different university policies and regulations on sexual violence within Makerere University. I proceed with discussing the criminalisation of sexual violence in Uganda's domestic legislation and then discuss the challenges linked to criminalising sexual behaviour. Then, an examination of the current situation on the implementation of international law on elimination of sexual violence by Uganda is explored. Finally, I call for the need for reaffirmation of the philosophical and theoretical foundations of human rights in order to challenge the cultural and normative justifications of the sexual violence. These questions helped me answer the question of how sexual violence can be adequately addressed.

 

1.3            Problem statement

 

During the past decade, concern over the sexual victimization of female college students has escalated. In part, the interest in this problem has been spurred by increasing attention to the victimization of women in general; until the relatively recent past, female victims received very little attention. However, this is no longer true. Terms such as “date rape” and “domestic violence” have entered the public lexicon and signify the unprecedented, if still insufficient, notice given to women who have been victimized(Fisher et al., 2000 :1). Various forms of sexual harassment have been reported at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda; however, no systematic study has been carried out to investigate the types, form and magnitude of the sexual harassment problem (Nyende, 2006 :126). Most researchers have paid little attention to peer harassment where both the target and perpetrator are at the same level, for example, both may be students at university (Nyende, 2006 :127). It is this revelation that formed the basis of my inquiry.

 

Researches on college sexual crime indicate that the female student is more at risk than her peers who are not students (The Sexual Victimization of College Women Research Report, 2003). Contrary to the traditional image of college campuses as safe havens for young adults, students, and women in particular, are exposed to high risks of sexual victimization on campus (Karjane et al., 1999 :vi). Although the rates of rape between women and men are significantly different, men are still affected by sexual assault (Christensen, 2013 :1455). This research therefore never focused on one sex but both because there is a wide agreement that sexual victimisation of males is neglected and that of females underscored. According to feminist theory, it is possible for men to harass women even when the men are of lower status than the women, as in the case of male students harassing female professors (McKinney, 1992 :296).

 

In communities, where cases of sexuality are seen only from the male-lens and not from a more holistic approach or women’s perspective, it is evident that such an unbalanced analysis must have negative impacts on the orientation of the people and the community in general, on the actual values about womanhood and manhood (Wondieh, 2011:1). Although the majority of adult sexual crimes are committed by men against women, other forms of sexual assault, such as those perpetrated against men, are often ignored (Turchik, 2012 :243). Therefore, in order to assess sexual violence in universities needs a balanced gendered approach to the former, which the thesis tried to factor in.

 

Walker et al., observes that, researchers also ignore homophobic violence because gay male victims tend to experience problems with their sexual orientation. When behaviour that is formerly associated with consensual sexual activity becomes associated with violence, gay men can experience  difficulty in defining their sexuality in a positive way (Walker et al., 2005 :70). The reason is simply that  they might, for example, experience internalized homophobia or interpret the assault as “punishment” for their sexuality (Garnets et al., 1990 :372). However, this research is limited to heterosexual violence and does not delve much into homophobic violence due to the need for a researchable limitation.

 

Although research has demonstrated the potential negative mental and physical health effects of male sexual victimization (Walker et al., 2005) only a few studies have examined such issues among college students. Most researchers investigating sexual harassment have treated women as the victims and men as the perpetrators of coercive sexual acts (Nyende, 2006 :127). More so building on the existing research which suggested that the sexual harassment of young males in schools also remains to be investigated (Chireshe and Chireshe, 2009 :95). It was because of this reason that I found sexual violence in universities a researchable phenomenon in order to analyse its magnitude by looking at both male and female students as victims and perpetrators.

 

1.4 Hypothesis.

 

The study discovered students' perceptions on the sexual violence and the mechanisms through which it can be eliminated. I hypothesised that these may be assumed to be human rights violations but even those that are assumed may either be un- reported 'dark-figures' or may be informally settled between the perpetrators and victims. This was alternative given the percentages that agreed with the above statement. There may be university committees that are set up to deal with sexual violence problems among students. It came out to be an alternative hypothesis in regards to the students' perception of the subject studied. The view that the sexual violence reports are dealt with was wrong hypothetically.

 

 



[1] Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women G.A. res. 48/104, 48 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 217, U.N. Doc. A/48/49 (1993). 

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