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Arrest rising incidence of violence against PWDs

By By FRANCIS ANYENDA | Sep 25th 2013 | 2 min read


A heart-wrenching incident happened several weeks ago when a deaf woman was reportedly raped by a boda boda operator in Bungoma County. The suspect was arrested and later released by the local police. Investigations, however, are ongoing.

On September 5, 2013, it was reported that a woman was sent to jail for six years after the court found her guilty of killing her deaf child in 2009.

The two incidents, although isolated, highlight the vulnerability of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in this country. Despite the entrenchment of the rights of all Kenyans, including PWDs, in the Constitution, we still have many cases of violence against PWDs. Sadly, not many of these cases are reported.

It is estimated that 15 per cent of the world’s population has disability. This prevalence is expected to increase because of ageing populations, increased risk of disability in elderly people, and the worldwide rise in chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental illnesses.

Globally, it is estimated that about half a million adults die every year because of interpersonal violence.

People with disabilities are at an increased risk of interpersonal violence because of such factors as exclusion from education and employment, reduced physical and emotional defences, communication barriers that hamper the reporting of violence, societal stigma, and discrimination.

Over 650 million people around the world live with disabilities. Out of these, 150 million are children. Surprisingly, about four out of five children with disabilities live in developing countries and most of them live in households that have parents or relatives with disabilities.


Severe disability

All ages considered, levels of both moderate and severe disability are higher in low and middle-income countries than in rich countries. They are highest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Locally, many children with disabilities are still hidden in their  homes while others are chained to cut them off from society. This is a clear violation of the rights of PWDs. Article 54 of the Constitution details the rights of persons with disabilities, which include the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and the right to access educational institutions and facilities for PWDs.

These rights are also clearly spelt out in the Persons with Disabilities Act No. 14 of 2003. In addition, Article 16 of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Kenya is a signatory to, provides for freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse for persons with disabilities.

As mentioned before, it is projected that the population of disabled people will increase in the future. This, however, shouldn’t lead to a rise in cases of violence against PWDs!

Needless to say, all Kenyans must stand up for people with disabilities and stern action must taken against those who violate their rights.

Francis Anyenda, National Council for Persons with Disabilities



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