They were nine men...after hitting me, they tied my hands and legs
It is over six months since Elizabeth* was physically and sexually assaulted by unknown men. Her perpetrators have not yet been arrested despite the incident being reported to the police.
On that fateful day in August 2020, Elizabeth decided to rest under a tree having looked for laundry jobs in vain. Like many women, she had lost her job during the Covid-19 pandemic and in order to take care of herself and her mother, she decided to look for menial jobs around the Eastlands area of Nairobi.
Having walked from Utawala to Buruburu that day, she decided to rest under a tree, where she was greeted by a group of men. Everything happened so fast and the next thing she remembers is a hit on the back of her head that almost left her unconscious.
“They were nine men…after hitting me, they tied my hands, legs and mouth and carried me to an unknown place around Buruburu,” she told The Nairobian.
The men then took turns sexually assaulting Elizabeth… “Each one of them did it with the passion to finish me. After they were done raping me, they dipped my head in water several times to torture me,” she said amid tears, “they did not stop there, they then took a glass bottle, broke it and inserted it into my vagina.”
The next thing Elizabeth remembers is finding herself at Mama Lucy Hospital, Embakasi.
“I don’t know who took me there but I am grateful”, she says adding that women who have been sexually assaulted do not get justice.
In her case, the authorities said, “They cannot help because I did not identify the men.”
Elizabeth was linked with Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW KENYA), who have been giving her psychosocial and financial support to start a business. Elizabeth says the near tragic incident has left her with adverse effects.
“They destroyed me, sometimes I can nose bleed continuously for two weeks,” she says.
Elizabeth also suffers persistent migraines which sometimes go for over a month. Despite the challenges she is facing, Elizabeth is thankful to CREAW, an organization that has stood with her in her journey.
“They are my second family, I am grateful for the help they have given me since last year,”she says.
Most survivors of gender based violence lack the economic empowerment they need to get their lives back together. In order to combat this, CREAW, GROOTS and the Collaborative Centre for Gender and Development together with other stakeholders launched JASIRI Fund to support survivors of gender-based violence in form of issuing loans at a subsidized interest rate.
According to a report by the national crime research center, the Covid-19 pandemic has seen cases of gender based violence rise by 92 per cent between January and June last year, compared to the same period in 2019. 71 per cent of these cases are women.