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Rising rape cases worry women leaders, NGOs

NAIROBI
By MICHAEL MUGWANG’A | November 10th 2013

By MICHAEL MUGWANG’A

The past few weeks have seen an upsurge in reported cases of sexual assault against girls and boys.

On Wednesday, the National Assembly took time to discuss the increasing incidents of rape in the country.

The Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (Fida) says it won’t rest until the victims get justice. They say what the public has had is just a tip of the ice bag. The reality on the ground is grimmer.

The Coalition on Violence Against Women in Kenya executive director Lidya Muthiani says in Nairobi alone, over 10 women are raped every month. And that number only reflects those who report to the organisation. Many are those who, for one reason or another, suffer in silence.

Though there have been reports of rape in the country, one case has particularly touched the conscience of the nation in the recent past.

A child, christened Liz, was attacked by a gang of six men in Busia three months ago and is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Eldoret. Busia County Women’s Representative Florence Mutua says it is disturbing that no drastic disciplinary measures have been taken against the offending officers.

“(Inspector General) Kimaiyo says one of them has been interdicted while the other has been transferred but I have an assurance from DPP Tobiko that prosecution will surely be done,” says the MP from whose jurisdiction Liz comes from.

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Ms Muthiani says she will be working with other agencies to initiate a gender-based campaign with emphasis on the boy child. “It is instructive to note that the people responsible for sexual offences are more often than not boys especially in the case of Liz where the perpetrators are young boys,” she says.

 

 Alarming attacks

Fida executive director Christine Ochieng says her organisation will file a joint case in defense of the girl with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights to.

When the case was reported at an AP camp in Busia, the officers are said to have arrested the culprits but released them after a punishment of slashing grass in the compound.

 “We need to work on the way we punish culprits. Everybody needs to get involved to tame this extremely rampant and alarming attack on our girls and sometimes boys,” an angry Muthiani told Crime Watch.

Ms Ochieng of Fida says the government needs to appreciate the complexity of the matter.

“We need to use Liz’s case to send a strong message out there that rape is just unacceptable,” Ms Ochieng says.

To win the war against rape, Ms Muthiani says every attack needs to be reported and police need to move with speed when such reports are made. According to statistics from the coalition, only 11 out of 1,500 rape cases end in convictions.

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