She wrote a poem about a vagina. It landed her in jail

Updated 11:43 PM ET, Sun July 7, 2019

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CNN is committed to covering gender inequality wherever it occurs in the world. This story is part of As Equals, an ongoing series. It contains language that some readers may find offensive.

Kampala, Uganda (CNN) — How do women get men who are standing in the way of gender equality to listen to them? Grab them by their genitalia.
That's the radical suggestion offered by jailed Ugandan feminist Stella Nyanzi.
"Unless you grab and squeeze hard, they're not listening," she said, wearing traditional African kitenge, red lipstick and a wry smile before a recent court hearing.
The academic, who has been in Luzira Women's Prison for eight months, is on trial after the government accused her of "cyber harassment and offensive communication" for penning and posting a poem on Facebook.
The poem, published last September, uses a graphic description of the birth of the Ugandan President and his mother's vagina to criticize his "oppression, suppression and repression" of the country, which he has ruled for over 30 years.
In early June, Nyanzi's legal team put it to Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Court that she had no case to answer and pushed for her immediate release. But the judgment went against her. She remains in jail and will start presenting her defense this week. Nyanzi has asked the court to summon 20 defense witnesses, including President Yoweri Museveni himself.
    Nyanzi has been known in African academic and feminist circles for decades, but it's her provocative poetry about the 74-year-old President that has made her a household name in Uganda in recent years.
    "Yoweri, they say it was your birthday yesterday. How horrifically cancerous a day!" reads part of the now infamous vagina poem.
    "I wish the infectious dirty-brown discharge flooding Esiteri's [Museveni's mother's] loose pussy had drowned you to death / Drowned you as vilely as you have sank and murdered the dreams and aspirations of millions of youths who languish in the deep sea of massive unemployment, and under-emplyment (sic) in Uganda."
    Stella Nyanzi, center, leads a protest over the handling of police investigations into murders and kidnappings of women in Kampala in June 2018.