Bomet County has registered an increase in cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020.
Speaking during a two-day gender sensitization meeting at Sierra Hotel in Bomet Central, the County Director of Gender Lilly Chepkemoi confirmed that many of the GBV cases reported emanated from retrogressive culture that needed to be done away with.
Chepkemoi noted that Chebunyo ward in Chepalungu sub-county had reported many cases of GBV compared to other administrative units in the region.
“Most cases in the county have been reported in Chepalungu Sub-County, this can be as a result of its interior and remote nature, we have also noticed that cultural values and stereotyped beliefs in FGM contributed to most of the GBV cases,” explained Chepkemoi.
Gender-Based Violence is a violation of human rights as indicated in article 27 of the 2010 Kenyan constitution and anyone found culpable of violating the act should be accountable.
In 2008, the Kenya demographic and health survey (KDHS) revealed that 27.1 per cent of women have undergone FGM in Bomet.
FGM is a practice by communities around this region for observance of a cultural requirement and rite of passage, some of the regressive cultures that the government has been fighting.
However, reports indicate many victims who face the wrath of their perpetrators do not report these cases when they happen, due to the fear of victimization by the community.
Japheth Rugut, the director for youths in the County urged residents to follow the due process of reporting GBV cases through government institutions, mandated to deal with the matter.
“We are urging our people to be vigilant and report GBV incidents via 1195 which is a Toll-free number and also to the nearest police station for the necessary action to be taken against the offenders,” said Rugut.
Stakeholders from the national government and Red Cross have embarked on a sensitization program, which will run through the five sub-counties in the region for capacity building and primary prevention of GBV in the county.
Monica Okwanyi, the Project Officer of Community Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness Programs, Kenya Red Cross Bomet branch, revealed that the establishment and the training of community protection and watch groups will be to sensitize them on GBV prevention, response and referrals levels for help.
By Lamech Willy and Philomena Nesiria