A young woman living with multiple disabilities was March this year raped at their home in Meru County after an unknown man broke into a room where she had been locked up by her grandmother whom she has been living with for the past 13 years.
The 18-year-old woman, both mentally challenged and physically handicapped cannot talk, walk, eat by herself or hold anything with her hands and has to be attended to all the time.
Her traumatised mother, who gave birth to her after she was defiled while in Class Four aged 15 years, fled in 2005 and is yet to return home.
And while the grandmother never thought the robber did anything else apart from walking away with a few household items, she was shocked months later after it dawned on her that her granddaughter was pregnant.
“I had left to seek casual jobs when I returned and found that the house had been broken into and some items were missing. My granddaughter was in the house and I did not notice anything strange about her appearance until months later,” she told the Nation, adding that she also reported the matter to the area chief.
Though the girl missed her monthly periods, it did not alarm her grandmother until she fell ill and she had to reach out to Mwangaza Sisters Association for help and advice.
The association helps children with various disabilities from both Meru and Isiolo counties.
“I shared the story with one of my neighbours and she told me there was nothing to worry about and it could be God’s plan to rid me of the burden of buying diapers for her,” the grandmother said.
But what shocked her most was noticeable movements on the girl’s belly that made her resolve to take the young woman to the hospital for a pregnancy test where it turned positive. She was six months pregnant then.
Two weeks ago, the disabled woman fell ill and was rushed to Isiolo Referral Hospital where she was admitted. Last Saturday, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
Doctors at the hospital told journalists that they were previously planning to book her for an operation, but to their surprise, she had a normal delivery.
“We had to admit her because she was brought in while sick and we had to also conduct a gynaecological review,” Alfred Tinan, a medical social worker at the facility, told the Nation.
Mr Tinan said the child, weighing 2.2 kilogrammes at birth, will spend some time at the newborn unit before the mother can be discharged.
The social worker lamented that sexual offences against disabled children are on the rise but are never reported for action to be taken against the perpetrators.
NO JUSTICE YET
And while the grandmother was elated that her granddaughter had a normal delivery, she is still pained that the chief is yet to act on the matter six months after reporting the incident.
“I am grateful to God that she delivered without complications but my heart is restless because whoever did the evil act is yet to be arrested,” she said.
Speaking when he visited the family at the hospital, Kenya Red Cross Central Region Manager Gitonga Mugambi called on Meru County Commissioner Allan Machari to take disciplinary action against the chief for negligence.
“If he (chief) had swiftly acted on the matter, the culprit(s) could have been arrested,” said Mr Gitonga while also appealing to police to launch a manhunt for the suspects.
While raising concern over the upsurge in the cases in Tigania and Igembe in Meru County, the official asked the Ministry of Gender and that of Labour and Social Services to map out all the disabled children and come up with plans of assisting them.
The family has appealed to well-wishers, leaders and organisations to help the disabled woman raise the child.
“I do not have a regular source of income and having a young child to take care of together with the mother with multiple challenges is quite an uphill task for me,” said the grandmother.