Murang’a County Gender Officer Peter Muhia has decried the rise in cases of physical violence against women and called on residents to ditch retrogressive and harmful cultural practices that encourage violence against women.
He noted that some practices such as wife inheritance and disinheritance, wife battering, female genital mutilation among others are retrogressive and not only play a role in violating women and girls but also are detrimental to peace, harmony and growth of any society.
This comes as the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2022 key indicators report released Tuesday placed Murang’a County among the leading counties where physical violence was meted on women countrywide.
The survey indicates that 54 per cent of women in the County have been subjected to a form of physical violence while sexual violence prevalence rate is placed at 24 per cent.
“Some of the contributing factors to such levels of violence against women are the outdated cultural practices that our communities are still holding on to that need to be ditched,” he noted.
Muhia laments that some traditions in the African setup in Central Kenya believe in “disciplining” women by instilling pain on them and this amounts to violence.
“Drugs abuse is also a contributing factor and it is therefore paramount that all our communities join the government in the fight against them,” notes Muhia.
The gender officer encourages the victims to report cases and incidents of violence so that action can be taken on the offended as numerous cases go unreported.
“If you are a witness or are a victim of any form of violence, use the GBV toll free number of 1195 that is hosted by the State department for gender and social protection and help us end gender based violence,” he adds.
Muhia is however quick to add that sexual violence against women and girls cannot and should not be arbitrated at the local administration level or through a Kangaroo court but the perpetrators should be allowed to face trial in a court of law.
“While the local administration has the capacity through linkages to address and mitigate other forms of violence, sexual violence cannot be arbitrated at that level but has to be dealt with in a court of law,” he states.
He underscores the need for people living together in a family setup to embrace dialogue and open communication rather than resorting to violence that leaves some dead or maimed for life.
By Florence Kinyua