On April 20 at a rally in the capital of Uganda, Ingrid Turinawe, was arrested during a peaceful protest. As at least four policemen forcibly pulled her out of a car, one police officer repeatedly and violently grabbed her breast.
Ingrid Turinawe is the chairperson for the Women League of the Forum for Democratic Change and an important female politician in Uganda. The police immediately denied the attack. But video evidence clearly shows a police officer repeatedly assaulting Turinawe.
The police officer who attacked Turinawe has since been suspended, but it won’t end here. This is not an isolated event. Women are regularly sexually harassed and assaulted by Ugandan police during protests and removing one officer won’t change that.
Turinawe’s assault -- and the video of it -- sparked an outcry in Uganda. Women across the country have taken to the streets to demand police stop assaulting them for exercising their rights. One woman, a hairdresser who is pregnant, organized a protest that filled the streets. Women risked arrest and marched with signs saying “Would you let what happened to Ingrid happen to the First Lady?” These brave women deserve the right to voice their opinions without being assaulted or harassed because of their gender.
As a Ugandan filmmaker, I have followed dozens of former girl soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army -- a rebel group led by war criminal Joseph Kony -- and heard women talk about their firsthand experience with sexual abuse at the hands of men in uniforms. This will only get worse as Ugandan police increasingly crackdown on protesters and political dissent of any form. The police can no longer deny that the widespread sexual assault of women protesters is a problem.
I am asking that the Ugandan police issue an apology to Ingrid Turinawe and that they institute a sexual assault sensitivity training program. No woman should go through what Ingrid Turinawe endured. Sign this petition and tell the Inspector General of Police that Ugandan women should not have to live in fear of police officers.