Skewing Cases of Sexual Violence in Western Kenya

By IFA Western Team

G. M. O, a resident of Ebukoba Village in Kwisero, Kakamega county, watched in horror as three armed men repeatedly raped one of her two daughters one sad November 2020 morning.

The thugs had broken into her house at around 4am and threatened to kill any of them should they raise any alarm.

Feeling powerless, G. M. O (we have used her initials to protect the identity of the minor), could only cry as the men defiled the youngest of her two daughters, who was only in Class Five.

What is worse, the perpetrators were people known to her.

Later that day, she reported the matter and two of the suspects were arrested. One is still at large.

The matter is pending in court and G. M. O. is hopeful that the suspects will finally get the sentence they deserve.

The sentencing will however not erase the traumatizing memory that is embedded in her psyche for the rest of her life.

G. M. O. claims she has received threats from the suspects’ families, who want her to withdraw the case.

The families, she claims, work with some of the police officers who handled the case.

According to G. M. O, one of the police officers demanded a Sh1,000 bribe to fill in the P3 form.

Other police officers deployed at the Msalaba police post made several attempts to persuade G. M. O. to allow them to fix other people as the perpetrators of the crime and allow the suspects in custody to be freed.

This is just one of many hocking reports about the bizarre lengths that people in Kakamega would go to protect defilement suspects.

Recently, reports show that rape, defilement and sodomy cases have been on the rise in Kakamega county.

According to statistics, Kwisero area in Kakamega has the highest number of reported cases of rape, defilement and sodomy in Western region.

A minimum of eight cases go to court every week in the county, according to statistics from human rights defenders (HRDs).

The HRDs, media and police are working to ensure the community is safe for children to live in.

However, there is more that still needs to be done.

The rising cases of rape, defilement and sodomy in Kwisero, and Kakamega county at large, have been attributed to poverty, corruption and poor cultural practices.

Most of the victims come from poor backgrounds thus cannot, in many cases, sustain a court case against suspected perpetrators.

Poverty also means they can easily be influenced into dropping the cases after being offered some token.

In most of the cases, perpetrators are people well known to the victims.

This means some victims or their families fear to expose them because they fear it will bring shame to the family.

In some cases, family heads or respected members of the families are used to try and talk the victims and their families into settling the matter out of court.

Failure to settle the matter out of court will make the victims’ families be viewed as traitors who cannot protect the image of the larger family.

Perpetrators, either directly or indirectly, compromise police officers, local administration and even doctors, sometimes, to skew the cases in a particular direction.

This prevents victims from getting justice.

In some cases, the suspected perpetrators are bailed out, after which they intimidate the victims and their families into withdrawing the cases.

Unless something is done urgently, rape, defilement and sodomy will become the norm in Kakamega county.

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