Members of Parliament on the Select Committee investigating allegations of sexual violence in schools and institutions of learning have learnt that access and exposure to pornographic materials to student and adults in lira district has escalated the levels of sexual harassment and violence amongst girls and boys in school.
The committee, which was meeting the school leadership of Lira central primary school on 27th November 2018 was told that many students and adults in the community are exposed to many visual and print pornography which has made them too sexually alert and hence leading many people in acts defilement and sexual relations between students.
Mrs. Pamela Amongi a Senior Woman teacher at the school clearly informed the committee that exposure to pornographic materials greatly affects students because they lose concentration in class and hence deterioration in performance. She further informed the committee that Lira central primary school had registered two cases of students who had confessed being distracted by the addiction to pornography.
“I have interacted with two students whose performance was deteriorating but I was shocked when they confessed that they had been watching pornography movies and they feel so addicted to the movies which was affecting their time in school,” she said.
She further blamed the laxity of parents who have either brought home pornographic movies or failed to cheek what their children keep watching at home.
“I have witnessed a mother watching pornography with her daughters and when I intervened, their mother simply asked me to mind my business because we living in the modern world,” she said.
However Mr. Tony Owiny a male teacher on the same school blamed the rise of sexual violence and harassment to the high levels of poverty amongst the bigger population of the locals in Lira district. He further explained that poverty has forced many girls to seek material necessities from men who ask for sexual favors in return.
“I have witnessed a primary five female student who started her menstruation periods and couldn’t be supported by her single poor mother, she resorted to asking for such necessities from men who ended up sexually abusing her,” he said.
However during the course of discussion, it was pointed out that many sexual offences do not happen in school but in the outside community. Men who are involved with these girls are mostly the Bodaboda riders who offer girls free lifts to and from school.
Kioga County MP, Hon. Anthony Okello, pointed out that matters related to sexual harassment in institutions of learning should not be held lightly by the authorities in the district, he called on the school management to consider checking all donor donated books because many of them have elements of pornography and promotion of homosexuality practices.
“Schools should pay keen concern when receiving free books from donors, these books have been seen to carry teaching of sexually habits mostly homosexuality and lesbianism,” he said.
Hon. Stephen Kisa (Luuka South) advised teachers and parents to monitor every content watched by children at school and home respectively during this long holiday. He further asked parents to participate in watching educative programmes and productive activities to engage the kids at home as they go for work. He says this would keep the children busy rather than wasting time on television and internet.
“Parents should stop leaving their mobile phone with children because this is a serious dangers. A child should not access a parent’s phone and a parent should not buy a phone for a young child. This will help check and protect kids from accessing uncalled for information on mobile phones and Internet,” he said.
Parliament last April agreed to constitute a select committee to investigate allegations of sexual harassment in schools and institutions of learning. The decision came after a motion by National Female youths MP, Anna Adeke urging Parliament to inquire into the matter. The motion also followed media reports on the vice involving teachers, lecturers and school heads.