Busia County has registered an increase in gender abuse cases since the outbreak of Coronavirus in March.
Matayos Deputy County Commissioner Kipchumba Rutto and the County Director for Gender, Bernard Makeni raised an alarm over the rise in GBV cases as the former flagged of the caravan to traverse the county with special message to residents and GBV perpetrators.
“From 1989 to date more than 13000 children have been sexually abused across the county with many more having faced other forms of gender abuse. From the 13000 cases about 60 percent have been reported in the last one year,” Makeni said.
This emerged on Wednesday at the Busia County Commissioner’s compound during the flagging off, of the 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the county.
The duo noted that it is only through concerted efforts from all stakeholders that the vice can be curtailed.
Rutto who urged victims and those who report such cases to call 1195 to get access to justice, said security agencies will not hesitate to arrest and arraign culprits in the courts of law.
“Gender based violence is violation of human rights as enshrined in article 27 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.The law will not spare those who violate it,” he warned.
Makeni said reported sexual abuse cases against women and children have doubled since March when the covid-19 outbreak was reported in the country.
He said all stakeholders should hence utilize the 16 days to fight the vice by educating the community especially men to stop the culture of assuming they are the only ones with a say in the family, avoid sexual abuse and respect the female gender.
Rural Education and Economic Enhancement Programme (REEP) Director Mary Makokha disclosed that since the onset of the Coronavirus three children have died from cases related to GBV, 103 have been rescued from early marriages, 86 became victims of early pregnancies while 64 have been defiled in the Busia.
“The rising number of women and children who are sexually abused in the county should be a wake-up call to women. They should no-longer remain silent if they are assaulted by their husbands or engage in kangaroo court business to hide the perpetrators of the heinous
acts,” she said.
Makokha who disclosed that among the recent sexual abuse cases is one involving an 88 year-old woman, urged residents to report such cases to relevant authorities and advised parents to educate their children on what an abuse is.
This year’s campaign against GBV is part of United Nation Women’s efforts for Beijing and building up to launch bold new actions and commitment to end violence against women at the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico and France in 2021.
Women’s rights activists observed November 25 as a day against gender based violence since 1981. The date was selected to honour the Mirabal sisters, three political activists from the Dominican Republic who were brutally murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s
ruler, Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).
The series runs alongside the UN’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign from November 25 to December 10.
By Melechezedeck Ejakait