NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31- The Government has been challenged to break the silence and condemn cases of gender-based violence that are on an all-time high, with the numbers of fatalities at a worrying rate.
Over the past, few months, more than 40 lives have been lost, with most victims being youthful women across various parts of the country, according to authorities.
Equality Now, a lobby group has joined the calls for action insisting that the Government must ensure all perpetrators of sexual violence are brought to book so that the course of justice prevails.
Equality Now, Programme Officer – End Harmful Practices Naitore Nyamu says the country should honour its national, regional and international commitments to uphold the rights of women and girls.
“We stand in solidarity with the women’s rights champions who will be conducting a vigil in Nairobi today, in memory of the women and girls whose lives have been cut short due to sexual and gender-based violence,” Nyamu said.
She added that: “This wanton abuse of the rights of women and girls is of grave concern to us, as organizations championing for the rights of women and girls across Kenya and we insist that this needs to stop.”
“The fact that sexual violence is being normalized is not only a grim reality but a serious injunction on what the Kenyan society is turning into. There is absolutely nothing normal about defiling minors. Sexual and Gender based violence is a heinous crime and a violation of human rights that should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.”
One of the most shocking incidents was in April when a female Moi University student pursuing Medicine was hacked to death by a childhood friend.
Ivy Wangeci, a sixth-year student was hacked to death with an axe within the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.
The suspect has since denied killing Wangechi, in an ongoing prosecution.
On Thursday evening, senior Government officials led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi joined Lobby groups and Kenyans marking femicide vigil night, an event that was held at the university of Nairobi.
-Case studies across the country-
In Kitui County, a man hacked to death his 34-year-old wife and two children- son 14, and his 3-year-old daughter on January 14.
On April 9, Wangechi hacked to death by a suspected jilted lover.
On April 15, a Nyeri woman murdered in cold blood in the wee hours by her estranged lover.
In Machakos, Makueni and Kitui Counties there were more than 10 cases of killings following family dispute since January to April.
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According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (2014) five percent of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence.
About 4 in 10 every-married women (39pc) have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and slightly less than half (47pc) have experienced at least one of the three forms of spousal violence.