Today, I share an article on child abuse in Kenya. Through the experience of one Kenyan mom, I wish to create awareness about the act of sodomy upon a child, and a local organization in Kenya, CREAW, that offers assistance in such cases.
Also, if you work in an organization in the area of sexual reproductive health and rights and you’d like your work highlighted, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or reach me on Twitter @MaryanneWaweru
“It was on Friday August 28, 2017 when I got back from work and found Dan laying down the floor. He was unusually quiet and was not engaging in any talk with any of his siblings. Normally, he would run over to me with bubbly smiles and continuously talk of about his day at school. This time, he was sad, depressed and dispirited.
When I asked his siblings, they stated that he probably did not want to shower hence the frowning. I insisted to know from him why he had not showered like the rest. He hesitated but finally mumbled some words.
All I heard was ‘mom I’m in pain.’
Gasping in fear
His eyes were red and swollen with tears. He was in shock and gasping in fear. When I told him to sit up he asked: “Would you beat me if I stood up?”
I asked, “why I would beat you for no reason?”
Seeing that I was calm, he gained the courage to speak up. Dan narrated how the neighbour called him to his house and sent him to buy airtime at a shop that was down the flat. When he came back, he again sent him to buy kangumu (hard cake) before he could allow him into the house.
In all, Dan did not realize that the neighbor was preying on him. The neighbor inquired if I was back from work. When he learnt that I was not around, he proceeded to actualize his evil plan. He offered him kangumu to eat.
Threatened with death
While at it, he grabbed him, forcefully removed his clothes and sodomized him. He screamed through the ordeal, but his mouth was blocked to muffle the screams. None of his siblings in their house could hear his cry.
After he took Dan’s clothes and wiped himself, he chased him away warning that if he told anyone he would kill him. Dan hurriedly wore his clothes and left.
At this point I wanted to scream for the world to hear what a beast my neighbor was. I could not imagine that this would happen to someone so dear to me. I was disgusted and wanted to make the world knows the perpetrator but first I had to let justice take its course. I did not want to scare him away before the law caught up with him.
Confronting the neighbour
My first point of action was to look for the caretaker who was manning the flat where we reside.
The caretaker remembered that Dan had bought airtime and kangumu from his shop. He said the man in question was a friend of the neighbour and was new to the premises.
The caretaker accompanied me to the neighbour’s house to confront the perpetrator. He however hesitated to open the door, forcing the caretaker to knock off the door and an altercation ensued.
As the fracas was ongoing, I dashed out unnoticed to report the incident at the nearby Kitengela police station. Minutes later, I arrived with the police but a huge crowd had already gathered outside making it difficult to access the premises.
Test turns positive for sodomy
At this point word was all over the streets that my son had been sodomized. The crowd was baying for the blood of the perpetrator. They wanted the police to move with speed and arrest him or let them have their way and lynch him.
There were only two policemen and the crowd was overwhelming, more officers were called in and they shot in the air to disperse the crowd after which they made their way to arrest the perpetrator.
I was relieved but I knew it was not yet over. The next procedure was to take my son to the Nairobi Womens Hospital in Kitengela. The results turned out positive for sodomy; his anus had been raptured and had to undergo a surgery to correct the situation.
When I got back from the hospital, a neighbour informed me about the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) and how they provide free legal aid to the survivors of gender-based violence. The next day I set out their offices in Kibra.
Meeting CREAW officers was very helpful, I got the much-needed support to push through the ordeal. When the case was coming up in court for the first time in Kajiado, CREAW officers were at hand to offer their support.
At that point, my son was still traumatized. He stammered through his testimony in court and did not want to speak or get close to any man. All was set for the hearing of the case.
Pain while passing stool
Through it all, my son could not eat solid food, for a week he survived on milk and was experiencing pain while passing stool. The court process was draining as well; it was difficult to afford bus fare to courts every time but I’m thankful that CREAW supported me all through.
After a month and a half, justice came knocking. The perpetrator was found guilty of the offense and sentenced to life imprisonment. I was relieved and thankful. I thought cases like mine would take years to come to a close.
I have since transferred Dan to another school and he continues to undergo psycho-social therapy to help him gain a sense of life and deal with the feelings of guilt and shame from the abuse.”
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This story has been republished with permission from the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), an organization whose work is premised on the foundation that everyone deserves a dignified life, and that this is attainable. If you need support, including counseling and legal services, you can call the CREAW toll-free number: 0800 720 186.
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