Incidences of sexual abuse in Uganda, where the HIV rate is 7% and rising, have more than tripled since 2002, exposing many minors to HIV. Last September, a bill was introduced in the parliament to make the death sentence mandatory in all cases involving sexual activity between a positive adult and a minor (it was still under consideration at press time). Such assaults often spring from a myth that having sex witha virgin can cure HIV. Experts attribute the rising assault and HIV rates to the government’s failure to provide info about HIV, while deemphasizing condom and sex talk. Rape is punishable by death, but the sentence isn’t mandatory and has never been applied. “Minors need to be protected,” says Livingstone Sewanyana of the Human Rights Initiative, “but we should put more emphasis on prevention and education, not on capital punishment.” A capital idea.
Death and the Maidens
Uganda's capital punishment policy