Meru County Commissioner Fred Ndunga has raised concerns over the increasing cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Meru County.
Speaking while launching 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence at the county headquarters, Ndunga noted that the number of reported cases in the County was alarming and urgent action was necessary to curb the vice.
“According to a report released in July this year, Meru County was ranked third nationally in terms of Gender-based violence at 38 per cent. There is nothing to smile about but rather we need to focus on ways of fighting the menace,” remarked Mr Ndunga.
The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence is an annual international campaign against Gender-Based Violence and this year’s theme is: “Unite: Activism to end violence against both girls and boys.”
“As we launch the campaign, I want to remind all the stakeholders that we must create awareness on the long-term effects of Gender-Based Violence since the victims may suffer the trauma for the rest of their lives,” said Ndunga.
He also underscored the need for the stakeholders to do everything at their disposal to assist the vulnerable groups in society including young boys and girls.
“Let us all work to ensure that these groups are protected and most importantly join hands in addressing the root cause of these violent acts,” said Mr Ndunga.
He said this year’s theme was significant considering that it was also including the boy child who has lagged behind considering that much of the efforts have been directed to protect the girl-child at the expense of the boy-child.
“We now have the opportunity to do some affirmative action for the boy child so he can also be at par with the girl child,” he added.
“We have done a lot for the girl child making the boy child lag behind in many areas. We are grateful for this year’s theme that underscores the fact that even as we look at the effects of the gender-based violence, let’s consider the boy child too,” said Ndunga.
Some of the recent cases of GBV according to the County Commissioner include a man whose genital organs were chopped off by his wife in Igembe North, a case of a man from North Imenti who was stabbed by his wife and a boy from the same sub-county who was sodomised.
“As we go to face the challenges of confronting GBV, we should know it’s severe and do everything in our power to deal with the vice,” reiterated Ndunga.
He pointed out some of the factors contributing to increased cases of GBV which include discriminatory social-cultural norms and stereotypes evident in the county.
Others include a lack of skills from the stakeholders, limited resources and infrastructure, as well as limited collaboration among the key players.
By Dickson Mwiti