Sexual Gender Based Violence on the rise in Nyakach

PHOTO:LTN:/Some of the SGBV victims parade during a field visit by journalists organised by Equality Now

Residents of Nyakach in Kisumu County are questioning the existence of a gang that has continued to rape and defile locals at will.

Horrific stories of the gang atrocities have been told over time and security authorities, according to victims have failed to act on information shared.

A non-state actor, Inuka Success Organization has been in the forefront to document cases of sexual gender based violence in the sub county.

The organization coordinator, Victon Onyango, says they are a member organization of the Sexual Gender Based Alliance Kisumu County tasked with the responsibility to coordinate assistance to the survivors.

Onyango explains that during the documentation of the SGB violence in the area, it has come to their attention that the stories of the perpetrators are almost similar, an indication that it is a roaming gang.

“It looks like a coordinated rape scenario, because we find similar cases happening same night, where people, two or three breaking into houses, they have same apparatus, torch knife,” he said.

A resident, Jared Ochieng, not his real name, due to the sensitivity of the case, narrates how the gang breaks into the house where his daughters were sleeping and in turn defiled them.

“My daughters woke me at 2 am to report that some people gained entry into their sleeping room and defiled them,” he said.

Ochieng says he sought medical attention for his three daughters before pursuing justice.

His case is among many in the area where rapes, defilements are order of the day and night with no action being taken.

Ochieng noted that her daughters had recognized the voice of one of the perpetrators and police were given the information but little has been done.

“We did report to the police about one of the suspects who is a local, however, we were told to inform the police whenever we spotted the suspect, that sounds crazy,” says Ochieng.

For the cases that find their way into the courts, they get frustrated as suspects walk scot free after placing bonds and fines.

Onyango says they have followed a number of cases, some stuck in courts, but their ultimate goal is to ensure justice is served.

“We just make sure that justice to the survivors is achieved, we also trace cases that have stalled and see why and the reasons behind the delay,” he said.

The organization has conducted a number of awareness creations among the public on the need to report cases of sexual gender based violence.

“Most of the cases that we have been able to get currently are as a result of the conversations we have had in the community,” he said.

The conversations have also targeted police officers and administrators in the community.

“Cases have been reported but surprisingly nobody follows these cases after they happened, they are reported and end that way,” said Onyango.

Kisumu Medical and Education Trust, (KMET) an indigenous Kisumu based non-governmental organization established to promote quality health and education services across the country has so far since March this year documented six cases of gender based violence within a village in Nyakach.

Patricia Orao, KMET advocate in policy lead gender justice project says that in collaboration with Equality Now, they are determined to see the six cases go through the judicial process.

“We are taking police officers through capacity building in investigations because what happens if the investigation is shoddy, such cases always collapse,” she says

Orao says the officers are being strengthened on documentations of evidence to be able to take to court water tight cases as a way of discouraging sexual gender based violence cases.

A local chief, Elizabeth Achieng representing Agoro location, the epicenter of sexual gender based violence, says from October last year, the area has recorded a number of cases on gang rapes and defilements.

Achieng says she had made emphasis during her routine public meetings that cases of defilement and rape should be reported immediately after seeking medical attention.

“I normally tell my people to report such cases to the authorities after the victims are taken to the hospitals for medication,” she says.