Post-election rape victim’s cry for justice
Posted Saturday, August 4 2012 at 23:30
- Sunday Nation writer Kipchumba Some speaks to Mrs Nancy Wanjiru, a victim of the 2008 post-election violence, and brings you her shocking story of rape and brutality. The alleged perpetrators, who include a serving police officer, are free men
His wife was raped early the next morning by a police officer who was also his friend. To compound her tribulations, Nancy Wanjiru was sexually assaulted the same day by the same youths who had struck the blow that knocked out her husband the previous day.
She said the first sexual assault occurred early in the morning. She said the officer met her in Pangani walking to Kenyatta National Hospital to visit her husband and offered her a lift.
However, the officer first took her to the Pangani police quarters where he stayed. “He offered me tea and bread. I had not eaten anything the previous day. I did not have shoes and he gave me slippers belonging to his wife who was away at the time,” she said.
But the acts of kindness masked an insidious motive. Her benefactor quickly turned into her tormentor. “He told me ‘you Kikuyus are very bad people,’” she recalled.
And, with that statement, the enforcer of the law turned its violater. As the officer forced himself on her, Mrs Gachie says he warned her against screaming for help, saying she would not get any because it was “my police station”.
A scar on her right thigh she said was inflicted on her by the officer is a constant physical reminder of the cruel act that she said has forever changed her perceptions of men.
“I was shocked by what he did. He was a friend and a police officer. He had betrayed both bonds by one cruel act. I went away without a word after he finished. I have never been comfortable around men since,” she said.
Both Mr Gachie and his wife said the officer was well known to them. “We were not close as such, but we interacted on a number of occasions as he made his rounds here. We were not strangers to one another,” Mr Gachie said.
His wife reported the incident at Pangani police station under OB48/10/1/8 and returned to a camp that had been set up for the internally displaced persons near Moi Airbase in Eastleigh for some quiet reflection.
It was while there that the second assault happened. She said that some time in the evening a group of armed youths descended on the IDPs.
People scattered in different directions, and a young man, who she said was among the group that had attacked her husband, pursed her back into the slums where she ran. He pinned her down and attempted to rape her. When she fought back, he pulled out a knife from his pocket and cut her private parts and left her bleeding. “This was a friend of my son doing this to me.”
Rape is often used as a weapon during conflict, and the post-election violence was no exception.
Nancy Wanjiru’s plight is easily the story of thousands of women abused during the post-election period.
The Commission of Inquiry on the Post-Election Violence (Cipev) headed by Justice Philip Waki put the number of sexual offences at over 3,000. However, various independent organisations contend that the figure could be much higher.
Only a handful of victims — 31 in all — were willing to share their experiences with the commission. Eighty-two per cent of victims never reported their ordeal to the police, the commission learnt.
The low turnout was attributed to a number of factors including fear of retaliation, fear of the police, failure to identify their tormentors and the believe that nothing would be done.
The Waki Commission heard that the worst cases of sexual abuse occurred in Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare slums, where hundreds of women and young girls were gang-raped by marauding youths and law enforcers.
Ironically, when then Police Commissioner Brigadier Hussein Ali appeared before the commission, he stated that the police force had no statistics on sexual crimes because the force had not deemed it necessary to document them.