Sexual violence in Kenya:
Kenya like any other country worldwide gets to hear of cases of sexual violence on a daily basis.
The people targeted by this crime cut across the different age groups and gender.
In as much as the Kenyan government has put several legislative measures in place, survivors of sexual violence still aren’t getting the justice they deserve.
Survivors of sexual violence in Kenya
It is therefore not shocking when perpetrators of sexual violence in Kenya, like Father Kizito (who is a suspect in several sodomy cases) keep being released by the Police every other time for lack of evidence. One is thus left wondering, who is required to provide this evidence in case of sexual violence in Kenya?
Those in the legal fraternity know well that sexual violence is a crime that occurs in privacy, hence difficult for one to prove its occurrence or even present witnesses who can testify in the survivors favor.
Workshop on sexual violence in Kenya
In a workshop dubbed, “The Sexual Offenses Act implementation” held in Naivasha, Kenya from 25th -27th May 2011, participants voiced their concerns on the slow wheel of justice. Health care providers and lawyers present in this workshop kept blaming each other for the current flaws being witnessed in the management of survivors of sexual violence in Kenya.
Those working with the community directly indicated that most survivors delay in reporting cases of sexual violence due to the harsh treatment accorded to them by the Police officers. This was found to be common in cases of intimate partner violence, where some police have been found to challenge women who report having been sexually violated by their boyfriends or husbands. I believe that this scenario is not unique to Kenya alone, as different service providers worldwide are known to be act as barriers to people accessing services due to their negative attitude.
Management approaches of cases of sexual violence in Kenya need a complete overhaul.
What Next in addressing sexual violence in Kenya?
What therefore do we need to do to improve the way cases of sexual violence in Kenya are being handled?
In my view, the Kenyan Government plus all other stakeholders ought to action the following immediately:
- Have health care providers sensitized on how best to provide services to survivors in a non-judgmental manner
- All police personnel in Kenya be trained afresh on the management of sexual violence in Kenya
- A free hot line number be made available to members of the public for them to report any police station or health facility that doesn’t provide services as required
- The Kenya Medical Supplies Agency(KEMSA) be revamped so as to facilitate the supply of the required commodities for the management of survivors of sexual violence
- And finally, the courts should give priority to cases of sexual violence presented to them
As i have already mentioned,sexual violence is not unique to Kenya alone
Sexual violence in Kenya cannot be addressed by one stakeholder, we all need to join forces to protect our parents, siblings and children.