Elgeyo Marakwet County will establish a rescue centre for Gender Based Violence victims within the county headquarters where they can get assistance.
Deputy Governor Prof. Grace Cheserek said the centre to be established at the Iten county referral hospital will ensure that GBV victims receive medical treatment once they reach the centre.
Speaking at Iten Sports ground during celebrations to mark the 16 days of activism against GBV, the DG expressed concern that GBV cases were on the rise in the county saying it was sad that the county was among the 22 declared GBV hotspots in the country.
“Between July 2020 and June 2021, a total of 70 GBV cases were reported in the county, and in the same period that is July 2021 and June 2022, the numbers had shot up to 167 cases translating to 120 per cent increase,” she said.
Prof. Cheserek said the figures could be higher saying due to cultural orientation, very few people come out to report such cases.
She added that the on and off conflict in the Kerio Valley had also greatly contributed to the rise in numbers saying many widows who have lost their husbands in the conflict are often victimized by their in-laws.
She regretted that while homes are supposed to be the most secure place, the same had become the most dangerous for women and girls as this is the place where they are physically and sexually abused by their male relatives.
The DG called for a multi sectoral approach to fight the vice saying there was need to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book while victims not only get justice but are also compensated.
She added that Female Genital Mutilation was still rife in the county despite the government ban.
“We are calling on those who have undergone the practice and suffered its harmful effects to come out and talk to our girls as part of the strategies to fight the practice,” she said.
The Governor’s spouse Fiona Kiprotich said apart from women, men were also suffering silently from GBV saying few men can report such cases as they fear the backlash from the community.
“I am urging our brothers suffering from GBV to speak out on any form of violence meted upon them so that together we can fight the vice,” she said.
She appealed to all the victims of violence to report such cases by dialing 1195 which is a toll free number to get the assistance.
By Alice Wanjiru and Allan Bwire