Rise of Facebook Sex Attacks in Uganda

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A growing number of young women in Uganda are falling victim to sex attacks through social media, according to reports.

Senior legal figure, Epodoi Florence, has spoken to Turkish publication Anadolu Agency about the emergence of sexual assaults against women, who meet their attackers on Facebook. The Federation of Women Lawyers says it recorded seven such cases of rape last month.

 

Sexual assaults on the rise

While Facebook usage remains fairly low in Uganda (roughly 3.6 percent of the population), two-thirds of its user base in the country are men – and the network is increasingly being used to groom young women.

Florence spoke of a recent case where a 19-year-old woman posted on Facebook about her desire to be a model, promoting numerous men to contact her.

“The girl received numerous responses, with one man promising to not only to fund her but also connect her with renowned models,” Florence said.

The pair later met at a hotel, where the man drugged and raped the young woman.

 

Investigations prove difficult

Often these cases are difficult for police to investigate, according Florence, as most are reported a number of days after they occur.

“They come when they have not reported the matter to the police immediately after the sexual violence so evidence is not easy to gather,” she said. “In most cases, they report to us days after the rape has occurred and need psychosocial and legal support to ramp up the investigation.”

Such attacks are a new phenomenon in Uganda, where less than a third of the population has access to the internet. Moses Binoga, who leads a government group fighting against cybercrime, highlighted the need to establish records to make future investigations easier.

“There are some [previous] cases but we do not have clear records so we are going to begin organizing a database for such cases,” he told Anadolu Agency.