The prevalence of sexual violence in local Kenyan Communities has over the years escalated at an alarming rate. Moral decay is largely to blame, and lethargic police response makes it even worse. The frightening thing for our women and girls is that history has shown that even nice men they might think they know could themselves, like a bunch of other shameless men, commit this crime if the circumstances were right. When it happens, most victims fail to report to authorities following deadly threats by the assailants, or sometimes report long after the incident, when most of the evidence (required by police) is gone. In the end, most of these victims choose to silently suffer alone, for fear of shame and embarrassment by their families and communities…below is a painful story of a young girl abused by a neighbor, before Wema Centre came to her rescue.
Lena (not her real name), is a nine year old girl from Nyahururu in Central Kenya. Just two months ago, she used to be a happy and hardworking class three student at a school near her home village. In early June this year, Lena was one afternoon walking home from School when she met with John (not his real name), a well-known neighbor and even a friend to her family. They exchanged the normal elder- child greetings, but little known to Lena, John had other intentions. He tricked her to a nearby bush and defiled her. After satisfying his unspeakable evil urge, John promised to kill Lena if she told anyone about the incident. In deep shock and pain, the severely bruised Lena wobbled home to her family but out of her fear for death, she couldn’t narrate the painfully odious ordeal to them. She had to fake sickness to avoid getting out of the house for a whole week.
He did it again, and again.
Two weeks later, Lena was on her way home from school, when she met with John again. He intercepted her and forcefully led her to a thicket nearby. Lena tried to call for help but her frail wails could not get far before John covered her mouth. He repeatedly defiled her, and just like before, threated to kill her if she ever told anyone about it. When she got home, her mother could notice something was wrong with her, but when asked Lena lied that she had fallen down while playing with her friends in school. Her mother bought her paracetamol.
John was not done yet, and in the following week he stalked Lena to get an opportunity to continue feeding his insatiable sexual urge. He did succeed, and once again the defenseless Lena could not tell anyone about it. When he defiled her for the fourth time two weeks later, Lena was so traumatized that she could not take it anymore. She could not withstand the thought of meeting John every other day on her way from School, and this forced her to stop going to school altogether.
In mid-July, her concerned class teacher followed her home to find out why she was not going to school, but Lena adamantly refused to give a reason, but kept on insisting she wanted be transferred to a school far away from home. However, the teacher pressed her to tell what had happened to her promising that no harm would befall her.
Finally some Action is taken…a little too late
Finally Lena gave in, and she started to painfully narrate how John did ‘bad manners’ to her. Not able to bear all this alone, the class teacher called Lena’s grandmother who was the only one home at that time. She broke into tears when she heard Lena narrate the abominable tribulation, and she immediately rushed to Kinangop police station to report the matter. The OCS referred Lena to Engineer District Hospital in Kinangop for post-defilement medical examination. The examiners could not get much evidence to pin down John since Lena had long ago taken bath and changed her clothes.
A friend of Wema Centre from Nairobi, who also happens to be a distant relative of Lena heard about the news and immediately called Wema for help. Wema acted promptly and Lena was immediately taken to The Nairobi Womens Hospital for Comprehensive assessment and treatment. A Social worker from Wema Centre also traveled to the Hospital to watch over Lena.
Hope for a sunny day, amidst the storm
Lena was discharged from Nairobi Womens Hospital 10 days ago. She is not ready to go back to her home village, her family or her former school for that matter. The haunting memories of John are still fresh in her mind, and the thought of ever seeing him again tortures her.
She has gladly agreed to stay with us at our Child Protection Centre in Bamburi, Mombasa, where she will be well protected, loved and cared for. She will also be enrolled in a nearby school to Continue with her education. But meanwhile, Lena has been put on a three- month counselling and care program to help her recover from the distress caused by her defilement.
Back home, the police are yet to arrest and incarcerate John for what he did. We hope one day Lena will get justice.