When kangaroo courts deny sexual abuse victims justice

Central Kenya has 470 GBV reported cases. The perpetrators are mostly relatives. [iStockphoto]

Victims of defilement in Mukurwe-ini Constituency are crying for justice. 

They continue to suffer even after reporting their cases to the authorities as the perpetrators are not apprehended.

Wangechi, a mother of three, is still dealing with the trauma after her children were defiled.

A few months ago, her children were defiled in their home in Gitero village while she was out collecting fuel wood.

“It was around 5pm when I stepped out to collect fuel wood and left the children with their father who also left for the nearby shopping centre," Wangechi said.

When she went home, she found her daughters, aged 2 and 5, in pain and her son said one of their neighbours had hurt them.

The neighbour sent the young man to collect some money from Wangechi.

“My son came back to me and said he had found his two sisters crying and the neighbour had run away," she said.

Wangechi's daughters are not the only victims of defilement.

A short distance from her home, a father is also seeking justice for his daughter. The man named Chege is a boda boda operator.

One evening, his wife told him that his cousin overpowered her and defiled one of their two daughters. 

"My own cousin defiled my daughter. I took her to the hospital and then recorded a statement with the police. After I confronted my cousin, he ran away and this made it hard for the police to arrest him, but they were also asking me for money to conduct the investigation faster but I could not pay them," Chege said.

“We begged the police to help us but our cries fell on deaf ears. My cousin was arrested several weeks later when he attended the funeral of one of our relatives."

However, he was released on a bond of Sh500,000 which was raised secretly by other relatives. “I was surprised to see my cousin free just two hours after he was arrested," Chege said.

Chege's relatives wanted the matter settled out-of-court, but he wants justice for his daughter. He appeared in court but was ordered to leave the courtroom and does not know what decision was made in his absence, but his cousin is free.

“A relative told me the case was over and I should never think of going back to the court to seek justice for my daughter," he said, adding that the daughter is traumatised. "Whenever she comes home from school, she hides in the house, afraid that the man who defiled her might strike again. She never goes out to play with other children in the village."

Chege also said that some of his relatives and village mates said he just wanted to tarnish his cousin’s name.

Defilement, rape and incest cases have been on the rise in the central region and the perpetrators are mostly relatives.

The latest reports by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) indicate that Central Kenya has 470 reported cases, and most come from Mukurwe-ini.

Virginia Wangari, the team leader of Women Voice, an organisation that advocates for the rights of the vulnerable in Nyeri County said there have been so many cases of defilement and rape in Mukurwe-ini constituency compared to other constituencies in Nyeri.

She said that most cases go unreported since family members don’t want to expose their relatives. "Mukurwe-ini has many cases and since most of the perpetrators are relatives, they try to solve the cases in kangaroo courts," she said.

Related Topics

FGM GBV Gender
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