Cases of gender-based violence in Kiambu County have increased to alarming levels and prompt interventions should be made to tame the trend.
Groots Kenya, a National movement of grassroots women- led community-based groups (CBOs) and Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in Kenya says that the situation has aggravated mental illnesses.
Coupled with growing numbers of teenage pregnancies, the organization says that while GBV did not start with the onset of Covid-19, many homes have recently become dangerous for women and girls.
According to data from the GBV national hotlines run by the Ministry of Gender, the vast county is ranked number three after Nairobi and Kisumu in cases of gender-based violence in the country.
Speaking in Ruiru after meeting the county women leaders and females aspiring to become leaders, Mary Kinuthia, a member of the organisation maintained that gender-based violence is a criminal offence and should be treated as so.
She called for the establishment of an institution where victims of GBV can be given psycho-social support to avoid family breakups, trauma and depression that ends up in death.
The organization’s Executive Director Frida Wanjiku Githuku said that the fight against GBV requires a lot of stakeholder efforts.
She said the organization in partnership with Kiambu County have identified a place to put up a shelter facility for GBV victims where they will be given counselling, offered legal support before they are given low-interest loans through Equity Bank to rebuild their lives.
The organization, in partnership with Mastercard foundation is also implementing a resilience and recovery program that will provide shelter, emergency rescue and counselling services to support GBV survivors and at-risk women.
The organization rebuked Gwata Ndai, an alleged cult-like association accused of promoting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and preaching against Christianity among the Gikuyu community terming it as demonic, illegal and unacceptable in the society.
Following the revelations that GBV cases are on a rising trajectory, three MPs from the county have vowed to legislate laws to counter the vice.
The MPs Gathoni Wamuchomba (the county women representative), Wanjiku Kibe (Gatundu North) and Patrick Wainaina (Thika) said that most of the GBV perpetrators engage in the vice while under the influence of drugs.
Kibe regretted a case where a woman from Kang’oo village in her Constituency was sexually assaulted a week ago and has since died.
This week, she said another woman had been raped at Gakoe village in the same Constituency but the perpetrator has already been released by police.
Kibe expressed the need to train police on how to handle sexual assault cases and create gender desks in all police stations to ensure officers handling cases are able to, in a friendly way approach the victims.
The MPs also called for stiffer punishment of GBV perpetrators by the courts of law.