Anti-Gender Based Violence (GBV) crusaders in Kitui County have decried increasing defilement cases and teenage pregnancies in the county.
The crusaders expressed regret that 80 percent of the GBV cases reported are of defilement in nature, noting there is need for urgent intervention to save the underage girls from sexual abuse as well becoming mothers while they are under age.
The crusaders were speaking Monday during a forum to sensitise GBV stakeholders drawn from various government departments on the alarming vice status, held at Kenya Forest research Institute (KEFRI) in Kitui town.
“GBV cases reported are increasing at a rate of 12 percent yearly with over 80 percent of cases being defilement followed by domestic violence and assault among others cases,” Kitui County director for gender affairs Luciana Ndila expressed concern while speaking during the meeting organised by state departments for Gender.
She lamented that local communities are inactive and not sensitive to GBV crimes being committed in their respective areas.
The county health data presented during the meeting, indicated an alarming 4128 cases of teenage pregnancies of young girls of between nine years to17 years as from June 2019 to January this year across the county.
“We need to discuss the matter urgently and with much sensitivity so as to comprehend what we are doing wrong and what we should do right,” she advised.
The crusaders further expressed regret that out of the alarming cases of reported teenage pregnancies very few cases of suspects prosecuted.
According to the report, only 27 cases of defilement from across the county which are in court. The 27 cases as per regions includes one from Kyuso, Kitui Central has nine cases, Mwingi Central and Mutomo have five and six cases respectively.
Others are Mutula with two cases while Kwa Vonza, Kanyangi and Kyusyani have two cases each. As per the report on the 27 defilement cases before the court, youngest victim is aged 4 years and the oldest 17 years.
The stakeholders meeting blamed illiteracy for contributing to the increasing vice and especially among rural areas residents, observing that the vice was mainly happening at the grass root in the rural areas where majority of 67 percent of the population in Kitui County have not gone past primary school level.
The stakeholders lamented that due to the illiteracy and low level of education, majority of victims GBV are unaware of their rights and even how to respond on GBV cases.
The forum decried that due the illiteracy most cases are either settled through cash compensation between parties concerned with the least amount being 40,000 shillings, while other cases end up at ‘Kangaroo’ courts leading to perpetrators to evade judicial justice.
By Denson Mututo and Janet Muthoni