Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) has released horrific details regarding rape and defilement in Kisumu County.
According to a report released by the Gender Based Violence and Recovery Center, around 1482 cases have been reported this year with a 98 percent victims being girls. For instance, July this year recorded the highest number of cases of 352 with only 36 cases taken to court.
The numbers are alarming and distressful since out of the huge numbers of defilement cases, very few manage to go to court and ideally some of the victims fail to get justice due to compromise of evidence or lack thereof.
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It was also discovered that some of the cases of defilement go unreported due to the stigmatization that victims face as well as the long court procedures that end up being traumatizing.
According to Lavine Achieng a resident in Kisumu and the Head of an NGO dealing with gender based violence, the society has not yet come to terms with helping rape and defilement victims. Rather, the narrative is still based on stigmatization and and victim shaming.
“Majority of these cases go unreported because of the stigmatization that comes with it. The families prefer to stay and suffer in silence rather than come out,” said Lavine.
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This is a very worrying trend that puts the lives of so many people at risk, either of contracting serial diseases or falling into depression which is a slow death.
Although the HIV statistics in Kisumu county have gone down compared to previous years, the normalization of the Rape culture among other factors still rank as the major contributors. In 2017, the Health Statistics in Kisumu County revealed that the prevalence rate had increased from 15% in 2013 to 19% percent in 2017. The number is still high, and suffering in silence after rape puts a victim at risk of contracting the disease.
It is advisable that after rape, the cases need to be reported to the authorities and a visit to the hospital scheduled to clear risks such as contacting killer diseases including HIV/Aids. For the rape culture to reduce in the county, authorities encouraged victims to speaks out with support of loved ones.
“Victim shaming and stigmatization should be curbed and family members should offer adequate support to the victims,” said Joel Okumu the County Director of Gender and Social Services.
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