1,133 is not just a number


Survivors of sexual violence want peace and justice to reign in Kenya

28 August 2017 - 07:08

Failure by the government to act on recommendations of the documented horrors in the 2007/8 Post Election Violence (PEV) report compiled by the Justice Philip Waki-led Commission on Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) continues to be a source of concern which only compounds the fears of Kenyans. Almost ten years on from Kenya's brush with all-out civil war, the Waki Commission findings together with the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) report remain dusty reference materials on government shelves.

In the past, women, men and children have been raped, homes have been burnt down, vehicles destroyed, property looted and burnt, people injured and others killed during political campaigns and after elections with no perpetrator prosecuted for these heinous acts.

A National Movement and a lobby group against sexual violations and related abuses namely the Survivors of Sexual Violence in Kenya Movement (@SSV_Ke) together with like minded civil organizations are appealing to all bearers of authority to do everything within their power to ensure that the safety of the public is guaranteed. This will ensure that Kenyans will not have a reason to be scared, in particular, the victims and survivors of past poll chaos who are reminded of the gross violations they endured following the 2007/8 post poll chaos. 

Our appeal for calm heads to prevail is informed by the reluctance of the State to bring the perpetrators of sexual violence during the 2007/8 PEV to account which has emboldened perpetration of sexual violations even in peaceful times.  It is five years since a case was lodged in court by 8 survivors of sexual violence, yet there is no indication that it will be concluded soon.

Other survivors of sexual violence in Kenya see this case as a trial balloon. They are waiting to see how the judiciary handles this case before they can also pursue justice. So far, NOT so good. Little has happened to inspire the confidence of survivors of sexual violence in our courts. The continued failure to hold perpetrators of sexual violence to account has only served to embolden perpetrators. Witness, for example, the audacity of a former male Member of Parliament who held a lady hostage demanding sexual favours.

The least Kenyans expect during these tense times is for the State to commit to provide adequate security to all, especially the more vulnerable among us like girls, women and children. Protection of Kenyans against any form of harm is enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya. The Chapter on the Bill of Rights is not negotiable.

We cannot continue living in a country where every five years the general population is in fear of violence by political goons and state agents. This is simply not acceptable and all Kenyans have to unite in saying, NEVER AGAIN!

Twitter: @SSV_Ke or @wangukanja

Wangu Kanja is the founder of The Wangu Kanja Foundation that supports survivors of sexual violence to access medical, psychological and legal redress. She writes here on behalf of The Survivors of Sexual Violence in Kenya.

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