Kenya: Alarm Over Rising Gender-Based Violence

Nairobi — A new report by the Nairobi Women's Hospital Gender Violence Recovery Centre has raised concerns over the rising cases of gender-based violence in Kenya and the isolation of men in efforts to address it.

Speaking during a media briefing on the '1 million Fathers Movement' campaign, FEMNET Regional Programme Associate Alberta Wambua said there were 1,864 cases reported with sexual violence cases taking the lead at 84 percent and physical violence accounting for 16 percent of the cases.

"Three percent of the cases were sodomy, sexual violence associated with robberies and abductions was 14 percent. Sexual violence perpetrated by fathers – 17 percent, sexual violence associated with drugging – 10 percent," she explained in the presentation of the 2013-2014 Gender Based Violence (GBV) report.

According to the report, of the 10 percent of the victims drugged, more men than women and girls were becoming victims of sexual violence after being drugged compared to previous researches.

However, more women (56 percent) and girls (36 percent) bear the wrath of violence compared to men (3 percent) and boys (5 percent).

The report also indicated that whereas most Kenyan men are opposed to raping women, 40 percent of the 3,000 men interviewed said it is not rape if sex is forced on a drunken woman.

"The boys said yes, when a woman is drunk she is calling on rape herself," Wambua recalled.

The study further showed that 33 percent of Coastal respondents and 30 percent of Rift Valley respondents believe that; "some women get raped because they behave or dress in a way that makes men to want to have sex."

According to Gender Violence Recovery Centre Group Chief Executive Officer Ken Otina, gender-based violence in Kenya continues to rise due to stereotyping of men as violent.

He said men have been isolated from efforts that address gender based violence making it difficult to uncover underlying issues that lead to violence.

Nairobi Women's Hospital Chief Executive Officer Sam Nthenya who is the brain behind 'The 1 Million Fathers Campaign' called on Kenyans to support the effort intended to create awareness and stop gender-based violence in the country.

The campaign that was launched in July 2012 was intended to ask men to fight all forms of gender-based violence in view that eight cases are being reported daily and 30 cases during the weekend and public holidays at the gender violence recovery centre.

According to Nthenya the campaign will be a phenomenal call during Fathers' Day which will be marked on June 15.

He urged men especially to become active crusaders of defending rights of both women and men who have lately joined the statistics of sexual abuse.

The campaign is also intended to reach out to perpetrators and vulnerable perpetrators to ensure they desist from gender based abuse which is a serious criminal offense in Kenya under the Sexual Offences Act.

Members of the public who suffer or witness gender based crimes were also urged to report using the hotline number, 116.