The aircraft carrying the 15 year old girl who had been gang raped in Wajir landed at Wilson airport Nairobi at exactly 10.00 am on Friday. Minutes later, the loud siren of an approaching ambulance broke through the cacophony of noise from the constant taxiing of planes from the airports runway.
The ambulance, the latest offer of hope for a girl who had suffered under the arms of men, some of whom she knew, for three horror- filled days was at hand to deliver her to safety, and urgent medical care.
Her journey had started from Habaswein Sub-County, more than 100 kilometres from Wajir town to the town center where they boarded the plane that would get her to Nairobi for specialized treatment.
“She was bleeding all through. It was heart breaking watching what they had done to her,” said Fatuma Gede, Wajir Woman representative who accompanied her to Nairobi.
As she was wheeled into the waiting ambulance, her eyes remained closed, unaware of her surroundings. An occasional wince when she was being positioned into the stretcher told of the pain she had endured when three men waylaid her and gang raped her for three days before dumping her on the street.
It all started when the form one student fell ill in school. She got a permission slip to go home and seek treatment. She would later tell her relatives that on the way home, a taxi sped past her, then made a sudden halt.
“The taxi man asked if she wanted a lift home. She was fatigued from the long trek home, so she got in,” her relatives said.
Her memory is fragmented on what happened next. She remembers the taxi driver offering her water, then she got dizzy. She imagined it was a result of her illness and asked the taxi driver if she could nap. When she woke up, she was in an unfamiliar building.
For three days, she was repeatedly raped and tortured by the men who held her hostage.
Her parents got suspicious when they got reports that their daughter had left school, but had not reached home. They started a search that ended three days after she left school and was found sprawled on the ground. She was still in uniform, frail and confused, with blood stains all over her body.
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Anytime she tried talking, she would choke on tears; summing up the harrowing experience she had gone through.
“I cried when I saw her. I kept wondering who would do such beastly act to a very young child,” said Fatuma.
Habaswein OCPD Caleb Wesa told media that the perpetrators fled but one had been arrested.
He added that the case had been presented to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
It is the second rape case being recorded in Wajir in less than two months.
“Most of them do not treat rape as a crime. There should be deliberate campaigns to make them know that if you are raped, the first place to go is hospital, then police,” said FIDA-Kenya chairperson Josephine Wambua Mong'are.
Fatuma said women are socialised to believe reporting rape is wrong, and that they should negotiate with the men who rape them to reach an agreement on compensation. She added that county hospitals are not well equipped to handle gender based violence. Women who have gone through gender based violence are either forced to bear it all in silence, or seek medical attention in Nairobi.
While her classmates prepare for the start of another school week, the young girl lies in hospital bed, recovering from a surgery to repair her reproductive system raptured during the ordeal.
Her parents remain in Wajir, too poor to get transport to bring them to Nairobi to hold their daughters hand as she recovers. Too far to provide a shoulder to lean on for their daughter. Too far to reassure her that everything will be alright.
“Getting a girl from a pastoralists community to school is a challenge. To imagine that even one of them will fall off due to rape is not to be taken lightly,” said Fatuma.