Beyond the bustling urban markets, high rise buildings, and the seemingly friendly people in Nakuru, one discovers a city where acts of sexual violence are increasingly rampant.
Despite the prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV), Kenyan culture does not encourage people to discuss sexual issues openly. Most GBV cases go unreported.
Police officers also have not been effective in handling cases of sexual violations and often conduct inconclusive investigations.
“If you go to the police station, you are put off and they refer the matter to the area chief. The chiefs are always biased and easily bribed by men and support men. They ask women to persevere because even their [the chiefs’] mothers persevered."
Why Do I Love My Abuser?
"My husband would come in late in the night or not come home for a few days. When I asked about his whereabouts, he would become frustrated, angered and we would end up in a physical fight. I reported what happened to the police, but I was not taken seriously."
Lucy Wanjiru Mugo, 36
Rape is the most under-reported crime in Kenya. Relying on reported cases will therefore not provide a genuine picture of what is truly happening on the ground.
In some cases, rape is recorded as ‘violent robbery’. Situations like these, where reports of rape are not taken seriously, very often discourage victims from reporting such crimes.
The track record shows that police in Kenya have not handled many of these cases with the seriousness nor the professionalism that they deserve.
In addition, taking the very brave step to report a case of rape does not necessarily guarantee the victim access to a fair trial.
In one rape case trial, named as among the world's worst case for women's rights, a Kenyan man was acquitted for raping a 13 year old girl because she seemed “too willing”. In other case, the violators were given grass to slash as punishment.
The arm of the law does not reach far into some Kenyan slums, (take Bondeni in Nakuru and Karagita in Naivasha, for example). These areas are breeding grounds for violent crime and rape, and it is here that many of these chilling accounts take place.
Unmonitored and unchecked by police, gangs are running amuck in these streets, with the easiest and most vulnerable prey among their targets being young girls.
To gain a more accurate picture of life in Nakuru County, the Center for Human Rights and Policy Studies (CHRIPS) conducted a survey of slum dwellers in 2017.
Sign the petition
We need your help to get more specially trained female police officers stationed at every gender desk at every local police station.
At the moment people, and women especially, are not comfortable reporting sexual and gender based violent crimes to the police.
Our research has shown that by having more female police officers at the gender desks more women are willing to report the crimes.
These female police officers will be able to work with the community to provide counselling services and help improve the reporting of sexual and gender based violence crimes.
By signing this petition, you’re supporting our drive to get the Nakuru county government and Nakuru County Police Coordinator to establish gender desks in all local police stations.
What are we asking for?
We are asking for specially trained police, especially female police officers, to work with the community to encourage reporting of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence cases and provide a greater support network to victims of these crimes.
Nakuru County government has an existing Gender-Based Violence working group within the county composed of state departments, such as the police, representatives of judiciary, Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, health and children departments, education, county commissioner office, and Teachers Service Commission.
This working group is instrumental in shaping programmatic interventions against Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the county. But they could be doing so much more.
Power inequality between women and men is a prime cause of sexual and gender-based violence. Women’s perceived subordinate social, economic and legal status in different settings often makes it difficult for them to get help once violence occurs.
Owing to the expectation that men should be breadwinners in the family, men turn to aggression in an attempt to suppress their status and continue dominating their wives or their close female relations when they perceive an economic rise by them.
Lack of Economic Empowerment for Women
“Even after I had filed a divorce against my ex-husband, he kept beating me whenever and wherever we met, including at the market where I did business. He contended that FIDA (Federation of Women Lawyers) had spoilt me and I was no longer subservient to him. Men are just jealous, greedy and selfish. If they know they have a hard working wife, they feel bad and use violence to suppress the wife."
Many women are dependent on men for their sustenance and, therefore, become vulnerable to male aggression. Men use their considerably higher economic status to impose unreasonable demands on women and enforce these demands through sexual and gender-based violence on them.
“When I reported the violence against me by my husband to my mother, she told me to persevere for the sake of the children; she told me that if I rose up against my husband, he would divorce me and stop paying our children’s school fees. The female police officer from whom I sought assistance told me that I wanted to betray my husband. Another police officer wondered why I wanted to take my ‘source of livelihood and the very existence’ to court.”
Kenya is very patriarchal, so it is important to build the capacity of women to become financially independent in order to reduce their vulnerability. With these resources, women can use their skills to protect themselves.
You do not need to stay in an abusive relationship because you’re not able to look after yourself.
Below we have listed a number of organisations that are able to help. If you, or a friend or relative you know are in trouble, get in touch.
More Than Numbers
More than Numbers is a campaign managed by CHRIPS, in collaboration with the organisations below.
If you want to get involved in the campaign, or if you need someone to talk to about sexual or gender-based violence, please contact us.
A2 Daphton Court Riverside Drive
Midrift Human Rights Network
Mburu Gichua Road,
Opposite Nakuru Central SDA Church, Nakuru
Centre for Enhancing Democracy
Off Kanu Street, Opposite Hotel Citymax
15801 – Nakuru
Young Men Champions in Ending GBV
Kariuki Chotara Road
Opposite Kenvash Hotel