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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,14TH DEC 2017-A report by Human Rights Watch says that police were behind human rights violations that were meted on women during the protest that were witnessed in the country during the 2017 electioneering period. The report reveal that police raped and assaulted women.
The report by the tittle ‘They Were Men in Uniform: Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in Kenya’s 2017 Election’ includes accounts from 71 rape victims: 68 female and three male.
The organization carried out survey narrowing in to several regions in the country that were seen as potentially hot sports such as Mathare, Dandora, Kibera, Kisumu and Bungoma where it interviewed 12 people.
Furthermore the HRW engaged 12 Kenyan and international civil society activists and community volunteers who were providing services to victims.
“Almost all women and girls we spoke to suffered physical harm and profound mental trauma and feared that their attackers may never be held accountable,” said Agnes Odhiambo, senior women’s rights researcher.
She said the women and girls interviewed described brutal gang rapes involving two or more attackers.
“Many said that they were raped vaginally and anally, that they were penetrated with objects, or that dirt was inserted into their private parts. Some were raped in the presence of family members, including young children,” the report says.
Odhiambo said the impact of sexual violence on victims is devastating.
“Most women said they were raped by policemen or men in uniform, many of whom carried guns, batons, teargas canisters, whips, and wore helmets and other anti-riot gear. In at least one case, a girl died after being raped,” the report adds.
HRW faulted the government for failing to prevent election-related sexual violence, properly investigate cases and hold attackers responsible.
The rights body also said the government did not ensure survivors had access to comprehensive, quality and timely post-rape care.
Odhiambo said victims did not report to police due to lack of confidence in the service and to avoid stigma.
“For few who reported, the police were not supportive. Sometimes they refused to book the incidences or even take a statement, and objected to following up on complaints on claims that victims didn’t know the perpetrators,” she added.
Appeal to the government
Mis Odhiambo has appealed to the government not to leave the victims suffer but rather ensure that they receive needed attention including physiological support.
“Sexual violence survivors should not be left suffering and ashamed of being victims while the Kenyan government shows no shame at failing to meet their needs and prosecute their attackers,” Odhiambo said.