Sexual Violence in Kenya

Nearly one in three women in Kenya experience sexual violence before the age of 18 which is a distressing fact to live with. This a scourge in society which requires to be rectified and uniting together to take a stance against violence. However, due to the stigma and unwanted attention the women bring when reporting rape the figure is thought to be much higher. The lack of fundamental trust in the justice system and the police, results in perpetrators to escape punishment.

If we dig deeper into the statistics, the situation becomes even dire when sexual violence is studied for all Kenyans under the age of 18. The definition of sexual violence is to obtain a sexual act by coercion or violence; was experienced by 32% girls and 18% boys. The shocking statistic of this means one in two Kenyans before the age of 18, will have experienced sexual violence. The current population of Kenya under the age of 18 is 21 million which means statistically 10.5 million will have been affected by sexual violence. There is an epidemic growing inside our country and the problem will not disappear unless we, the people, stand up to this disease.

From this topic, the most at risk are the women and girls with disability. Women with disabilities are up to three times more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse. They are easily coerced and taken advantage of due to their physical or mental limitations. WCC conducted its own baseline survey and from the report, which can be read by the link below, the women with disabilities were viewed as a curse or a bad omen. The consequence of this was the criminals who were responsible for the heinous atrocity, were never charged or prosecuted.

The cure to this abhorrent disease is through education and advocacy as well as a strong judicial process. We, the government and the people, must educate the children on acceptable behaviors and must provide a medium to those who are affected and above all else protect them. As Martin Luther Kings, Jr once said ‘The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’

For anyone interested in the full report on Gender Based Violence against Women with Disabilities click on the link below.

The Gender Based Violence Report

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