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County Tightens Loopholes in The Fight Against FGM And GBV

Gender partners in Bomet have resolved to work together in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV), female genital mutilation (FGM) and early pregnancies.

In a roundtable meeting attended by gender actors, the Judiciary, officers from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Police departments, the Law Society of Kenya and non-governmental institutions, the stakeholders agreed to remove all the loopholes that make justice delayed especially for cases of defilements.

Bomet County Director of Gender, the State Department of Gender Lily Bosire expressed concerns over statistics of delayed justice in 4000 cases of early pregnancies that were reported from January to September last year that showed that less than 10 reported cases ended in court.

Bosire wondered why around 4000 young teenagers were molested in one way or another and only 0.1 per cent of the reported cases proceeded to court.

“It’s unfortunate that 4, 000 girls between 11 and 19 years of age got pregnant, the girls were abused either knowingly or not while in rare cases some were drugged in social gatherings such as weddings and birthday parties,” said Ms. Bosire.

“Where did their cases disappear to? We need to deal with this threat to girls’ justice once and for all,” she posed.

Reports indicate that most parents whose teenage daughters got sexually assaulted in one way or another retreat to Kangaroo courts commonly known in the South rift as ‘Kipkaa’ and resolve these cases without involving relevant authorities.

The gender officer has however warned parents who are participating in making decisions that are harming their daughters that once caught, the law will deal with them accordingly.

“Sadly, we have learned most of the cases of early pregnancies go unreported to the authorities because parents of the victimized girls retreat to settle these sensitive matters with offenders in Kangaroo courts which is very wrong,” explained Ms. Bosire.

“What benefit will a parent get from being awarded a goat or cow at the expense of the dignity of their daughters?” posed Ms. Bosire.

Speaking in a previous anti-FGM function Bomet County Commissioner (CC), Dr Ahmed Omar issued a stern warning that the government would be very ruthless in dealing with cases of FGM, pointing out that some parents have been taking their daughters through the outlawed practice.

The County Administrator further warned chiefs that they will be held responsible for any cases of either FGM or early pregnancy reported in their area of administration.

Beware that you will be held personally responsible for all such cases reported from your respective areas,” reiterated Omar, adding that chiefs in the region who fail to arrest culprits involved in the vice have no business working for the government.

The county has made progress in the fight against FGM and other outlawed practices prohibited by the law through sensitization campaigns by the State department for Gender.

“Men and boys can be a powerful voice in the call for change. Partnerships with them can play a crucial role in eliminating the practice, transforming deeply the social and gender norms allowing girls and women to realize their rights and potential in terms of health, education, income, and equality,” explained Ms Bosire.

The gender officer called on the community to join hands in speaking out and stepping forward to end FGM which she states can cause health complications including severe infections, chronic pain, depression, infertility and death.

The Department of Youth and Gender has collaborated with organizations such as Anglican Development Services and the Red Cross organizations in improving the lives of young girls and women and in fighting FGM and GBV in the County.

By Lamech Willy and Diana Chepkorir

 

 

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