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Residents urged not to normalize SGBV

Residents of Busia have been advised not to normalise Sexual and gender-based Violence (SGBV).

Speaking during a sensitization forum for chiefs at a Busia hotel on Wednesday, the Director of Rural Education and Empowerment Programme, Mary Makokha, said that previously, SGBV, especially defilement, was seen as a way of making money.

“Right from the parents, the police, chiefs and everybody else made money from defilement cases,” she said.

Makokha, however, thanked the current judicial officers for fast-tracking the prosecution of defilement cases.

“I am seeing the good working relationship between the Civil Society Organisations and the National Government Administrative Officers, the Judiciary, and the ODPP,” she said, adding that there has been justice.

She also pointed out that there is a backlog of cases that are being addressed.

The Director further said that the organisation has also managed to build the capacity of clinicians who initially demanded payment before filling out the Personal Record and Certification forms.

“A few rogue ones are still doing it, but officially in Busia, the filling of PRC forms is free,” she said.

Busia County Commissioner, Kipchumba Ruto addresses chiefs during the training.

Makokha said at the same time that her team has also built the capacity of the police, especially the Gender desk officers, adding that Busia has a very high number of teenage pregnancies. “Most of these teenage pregnancies are a result of defilement,” she said.

She further said that there is a lot of infanticide in Busia, most of which is through incest as well as sodomy, with perpetrators luring young boys into some hotels in town.

The official urged those facing abuse to report such cases, adding that there was a need to support men in reporting cases.

Busia County Commissioner, Kipchumba Ruto welcomed the initiative of sensitising the chiefs, adding that they play a very important role in maintaining law and order at the grassroots level.

Ruto noted that SGBV cases are rampant in the County, expressing confidence that the training will help reduce the vice.

“We are going to say no to gender-based violence, and any perpetrators will be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.

Maryline Oundo, a Senior Chief at Nambale Township, said that chiefs will ensure that they report cases affecting both genders and warned that any chief who engages in kangaroo courts to solve defilement cases will be arrested and prosecuted.

John Paul Murunga from ‘Equality Now’, said that defilement cases are on the rise, adding that in the last three years they have recorded 574 cases.

He noted that some cases do not reach court, hence the need to sensitise the chiefs on the issue.

“We have sensitised them on what to do upon receiving reports of such cases,” he said.

By Victoria Magar and Salome Alwanda

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