In the past few weeks, there have been several reports from across the country of police arresting paedophiles, rapists and other criminals in relation to sexual and other forms of gender violence, especially against children.
It is heart-warming that the communities continue to out the criminals. But I am concerned that the female accomplices often get away with their crime after colluding with their male lovers, partners, husbands and other relatives to sexually violate children in their care.
In a terribly sad case, a seven-year-old girl is nursing severe trauma and physical injuries after she was repeatedly sexually attacked by a close relative with the full knowledge of the perpetrator’s wife.
The little girl lost her mother a few months ago. When the child’s aunt — her mother’s sister — adopted her with the promise of sending her to school, the husband, her uncle, took to defiling her. She was rescued following her school’s intervention after a teacher noticed that she was sickly.
Another girl, 10, suffered a similar fate. Her father had taken to defiling her at home as a matter of course. The child’s ‘helpless’ mother would only “advise” her to take a bath after the attacks by the man, the woman’s husband! Thankfully, the man is now behind bars. But the mother is free.
Just last week, a man who had been defiling his teenage stepdaughter in the full knowledge of his wife — the child’s mother — for two years in my home county, Nyandarua, was arrested through the teachers and a village elder’s initiative. But the woman is free.
Then there is the American couple who, for years, allegedly sexually abused children in their “orphanage” in Bomet. The elderly suspected paedophile, Gregory Dow, was eventually arrested at his Lancaster County home, United States.
Though reports say he is facing criminal charges over sexually molestation of at least four children, there is no indication that the 60-year-old’s suspected accomplice, his wife, will be charged alongside him.
The woman is said to have procured birth control services for the victims without their consent to prevent pregnancy and conceal the crime!
A lot still needs to be done to rid society of sex pests and those who perpetuate other gender-based violence against women, girls and children in general. Those who attempt a cover up must be apprehended and punished for blocking the society’s attempts at safeguarding the rights of women and girls, and children.
But are such women not accomplices in the defilement, molestation and sexual assault of their underage daughters?
It is, therefore, incumbent upon the authorities to take the lead in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence. They must do whatever is within their power to protect, safeguard and enforce the rights of women and girls; they are human rights.
Indeed, when counties become protectors of both gender, with a keen eye on dealing with sexual predators and perpetrators of violence against women, offenders and their accomplices will think twice before engaging in it.
This is why Governor Kiraitu Murungi’s administration must be applauded for coming up with the Meru County Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. The county’s executive committee member in charge of Education, Technology, Gender and Social Development, Ms Linner Nkirote Kaillanya, says the county government took the action in the wake of increased reports of sexual and gender-based violence cases against girls, women, boys and even men in the county.
Ms Kaillanya says the county developed the most welcome policy in the recognition that, and rightly so, gender violence, in all its forms — including domestic violence, cyberbullying and female genital cutting — is an obstacle and constraint to economic, social and human development.
Ms Rugene is a consulting editor. [email protected] @nrugene