PEEK

Sexual Violence Escalates in Kenya

As violence in Kenya reaches epidemic proportions, rape is again used as a tool of war against women and girls.
I'm a bit late on this story, though I unfortunately have a feeling that it's going to be relevant for some time. Unsurprisingly, reports of rape in Kenya have skyrocketed in the past few weeks -- more than doubled, though those figures don't count the majority of rapes that go unreported, since they are obviously difficult to determine (trigger warning for all of these articles). Since the December 27th corrupt elections, violence throughout Kenya has reached epidemic proportions (the BBC has lots of helpful background on the different aspects that have been fueling the violence). And more than just your standard brutal rapes, both child rapes and gang rapes make up huge proportions of the sexual assaults. From the BBC:
Staff in the Nairobi Women's Hospital -- one of Kenya's leading centres for the treatment of rape and sexual violence -- say they have seen double the number of cases affecting women, teenagers and girls since January.
"Since the beginning of the month, we have had 140 cases of rape and defilement," said Rahab Ngugi, patient services manager at the hospital.
"We were used to seeing an average of about four cases a day, now there is an average of between eight and 10."
Almost half of the cases at the hospital's specialised clinic are girls under the age of 18, Ms Ngugi said. One case was a two-year-old baby girl.
She knows that such a dramatic rise in numbers presenting at the clinic indicates that the reality beyond is far worse.
Only a small percentage of women actually come to receive medical treatment and counselling in the immediate aftermath of a sexual attack, she said. It means they do not get access to the drugs which might prevent the onset of HIV.
"It is the tip of the iceberg," Ms Ngugi said. "At any time of unrest, of violence, or rioting, women and children are targeted. It is revenge, it is war. People are fighting and the weakest ones get abused."
Cara Kulwicki is the founder of The Curvature, where she blogs daily about a wide range of feminist issues.
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