Trans Nzoia takes lead in gender based violence

By Osinde Obare

A task force on Implementation of Sexual Offences Act has rated Trans Nzoia County as leading in Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Kitale Police Station registered 35 cases of rape and defilement last May, June and July. But according to local rights organisations, many cases of GBV go unreported.

The revelation was made during a stakeholders’ forum co-organised by the task force and Chanuka Programme — a Kitale based non-governmental organisation.

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Chanuka Programme cited culture as the major cause of rising cases of GBV.

Retired judge, Lady Justice Effie Owuor said rampant cases of GBV in Trans-Nzoia were embarrassing.

Owuor described as shameful for a region credited as the country’s food granary and with economic potential to witness cases of gender abuse.

“It is indeed regrettable and shameful for a county like Trans-Nzoia prided for its economic potential to register such vices. Offenders should know stiff penalties await them when caught,” she warned.

She said the task force has intensified sensitisation campaigns across the country to educate the public on the Act. “We have stepped up campaigns to educate the public and build capacity of the police, Children Department, Director of Public Prosecution and medical service to ensure success of the Act,” she said.

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Stakeholders’ role

She was speaking during the forum that was held at Kitale Museum.

Chanuka Programme coordinator Anderson Mwenesi blamed culture and poverty for rising cases of the GBV in the region. He said rape and defilement cases stand at 60 per cent and called on stakeholders to tackle the vice.

“A day rarely passes without a rape or defilement being reported in the area. Culture and poverty has fueled the vice. This situation should be controlled,” he said.

Saboti DO Kissinger Ongaga opened the forum on behalf of the County Commissioner Charity Chepkong’a. Ongaga moved the audience when he narrated how an eight-year-old girl was raped and strangled before her body was dumped inside a maize plantation in Saboti.

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And a report by the Trans-Nzoia children office indicated that 21 cases of child abandonment were reported in the past two months.

Historians believe violence against women is tied to the history of women being viewed as property and a gender role assigned to be subservient to men. 

Sexual violence occurs within relationships, with two-thirds reporting current or former husbands, partners or boyfriends as their perpetrators and only six per cent naming strangers.

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Trans Nzoia violence gender