On 29th March 2018, 16 year old Joy (pseudo name) of Gomba District got onto the bodaboda of Damulira Christopher to take her home from school at  an agreed fee of 5,000/=. Along the way when they reached a dark, swampy place, Damulira Christopher informed Joy that his bodaboda had run out of fuel, she got off the bodaboda, and while she was still wondering what to do, Damulira Christopher pulled her into the nearby bushes, forced her onto the ground and sexually assaulted her.

Afterwards he threatened her not to tell anyone and abandoned her in the swamp, riding away on his bodaboda. Joy painfully walked the rest of the journey home and reported what happened to her to her mother. The very next morning Joy, accompanied by her mother reported the matter to police and medical tests were conducted which confirmed that she had been indeed sexually assaulted, she also managed to identify Damulira Christopher as the aggressor and a complaint was registered.

CEHURD carried out a training for adolescent girls, young women, health workers and Police in Gomba District on Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in 2017 under the DREAMS project and this team that had been trained carried on the information to more people we could not reach directly. One of the topics during the training included seeking medical treatment after defilement, reporting the case to police, proper storage of evidence and non interference with evidence and Joy was a beneficiary of this training.

CEHURD was notified about this case following interventions being made under the DREAMS project on SGBV fighting for access to justice for survivors of SGBV, the team drove to Gomba District, where the assault happened, met and talked to the victim, the complainant, health workers and Police to ascertain the facts of the case and worked with Police to have Damulira Christopher arrested. The team also worked with Police and the Resident State Attorney to have the police file sanctioned and forwarded to court for trial.

The matter was fixed for trial following our efforts and during the proceedings it was discovered that Damulira Christopher is a habitual offender and had a criminal record of two charges of assault and theft. He committed the sexual assault a week after his release from prison. Ultimately Damulira Christopher pleaded guilty to defiling Joy because of the overwhelming evidence and was sentenced to 30 years in prison including time spent on remand on 21st February 2020.

Our team has been pursuing this case since 2018 and our interventions through watching brief have ensured that Joy achieved justice. She is now in school having completed senior four in 2019. This is a great milestone in our effort to help SGBV survivors to access justice.

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