Kenya: Activists Seek Curriculum on Gender-Based Violence to Tame Abuse in Kenya

28 November 2020

As Kenya joins the rest of the world in observing the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence (GBV), rights organisations and activists are now rooting for training to tame the abuse.

Some women rights and anti-GBV campaigners are pushing for the government to roll out training for judicial, prosecutorial and police institutions to help deal with the rampant GBV in Kenya.

Coalition on Violence Against Women executive director Wairimu Munyinyi-Wahome speaking during a high-level conference on law and practice said a big change needs to occur in Kenya's education curriculum to educate the population on matters GBV from a young age.

This, she said, would help to have a future generation that is aware of the rights of women and girls as normal and not by default.

The Judiciary, Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) through prosecutors and the police are instrumental in ensuring victims of GBV get justice by having perpetrators convicted.

Convictions of perpetrators are only possible with water-tight cases, proper evidence collection, storage and prosecution.

Disabled women

Mweroka Riechi, head of prosecution at Kibera Law Courts in Nairobi said the training would be effective if integrated into the curriculum of judicial, prosecutorial and police institutions.

Nominated MP Dennitah Ghati said disabled women and girls are 10 times more likely to face violence than others.

"We should improve on disaggregated data collection for a better support system," said the MP.

Roselyn Mkabana, the GBV Coordinator at Nairobi Metropolitan Services, said SGBV services should be integrated into all health facilities from Level 1 to Level 5 to serve all survivors, including those with disabilities.

The move to have gender violence included in the curriculum comes even as anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) activists recently launched a campaign to have anti-FGM classes introduced in Grade 1&2 in the school curriculum.

Anti-FGM lessons

Speaking recently at the launch of Nyamira County anti-FGM Steering Committee, Anti-FGM Board Programmes, Manager Nyerere Kutwa said the strategy would help to educate girls to resist the outlawed cultural practices being conducted against them.

"We cannot only use the law to end FGM. We have to use community dialogues to declare FGM unwanted. The age of cutting has reduced as girls are now cut while very young. That's why we are pushing to have anti-FGM lessons in Grade One and Two in the school curriculum," said Mr Kutwa

A baseline survey carried out in 13 counties by the National Research Crime Centre in 2018 to establish the prevalence, cause and effects of GBV at the community level, found out that the lifetime prevalence of GBV was 38 per cent for women and 20.9 per cent for men while current prevalence was 37.7 per cent for women and 48.6 per cent for men.

The survey showed that while women's vulnerability remained fairly constant, that of men increased appreciably in the last one year before the survey. It also indicated that significant proportions of women (15.2 per cent) and men (7.4 per cent) had ever experienced sexual violence.

Focusing on sexual violence in the last 12 months prior to the survey among women, rape was the commonest form compared with sexual threats and sexual humiliation.

More women (37.5 percent) reported having experienced rape from an intimate partner than a non- intimate partner at 9.6 percent.

GBV reporting was found to be low with only 15.2 percent of female and 16.7 percent of male respondents who had ever been sexually violated had reported or had someone else report the act of sexual violence.

Only 10.3 percent of women and 6.8 percent of men reported to have ever been asked at a health facility of any GBV physical or sexual experience they might have encountered.

The survey covered Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, Machakos, Meru, Kiambu, Nyeri, Nakuru, Samburu, Kisii, Migori, Busia and Vihiga counties.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) runs up to December 10.

Its objective is to bring together individuals and organizations across different counties to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

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