Mathew Ndung’u @PeopleDailyKe
It’s every parent’s dream to see their children grow and prosper in life. But that may remain a dream for some parents in Gatundu North constituency, Kiambu county, where cases of sexual abuse and defilement has been on the rise.
At least four cases of defilement including incest are reported to children officers every month according to area children’s officer, James Irungu. Ruth Wangari Muchuku’s cries for her nine-year-old daughter; a Class Three pupil who was sexually abused on September 24 by an alleged serial defiler.
Wangari says the beastly act has lowered her daughter’s self-esteem as she keeps to herself. The girl, who hopes to be a pilot in future, however, holds onto hope that despite her heartless experience, her parents will hold her hands and help her pursue her goals. “I am hopeful that one day I will become a pilot and eradicate abject poverty that my parents have been languishing in,” the girl says.
Wangari’s husband, John Muchuku Karugu, expresses his displeasure with the laxity of police officers in arresting the culprit whose identity is known. “The suspect had previously defiled two girls whose parents decided to settle the matter outside the court.
After going under for a while, he resumed his callous acts by defiling my daughter,” he laments. Another is a case of a 17-year-old girl who was allegedly defiled on September 10 by a boda boda operator. “I was on my way home when he offered to give me a free ride. On our way, he changed routes, took me to a bushy area, and defiled me before threatening to kill me if I dared tell anyone,” the victim says.
The girl said that it was not the first time for the boda boda operator to rape her. “He has been forcibly doing this,” the girl narrates. Her mother Beth Nyagaita says that she got a call from a teacher who wondered why the victim has been demanding extra sanitary towels citing frequent bleeding.
“We interrogated my daughter who opened up on how she has been frequently defiled. My daughter is bright and hopes to become a surgeon, but the sexual torture has taken the toll on her and she has not been doing well lately,” says Nyagaita.
According to Mukuyuini Primary School head teacher, Paul Nyamu, cases of incest are also rampant. Nyamu singled out a case where a father whose wife works in a quarry has been molesting his children.
“The worrying thing is that the mother protects his abusive husband whenever he is interrogated by locals and police. In fact, the children were recently taken to a children’s home,” reveals Nyamu. The sexual molestation of girls in the area have occasioned rise in early pregnancies, alarming school dropouts and high illiteracy levels.
According to Irungu, poor economic situations, illegal liquor and drugs consumption, lack of sexual education awareness, abject poverty and poor parenting in the tea-growing region are to blame for the vice.
Lack of communal unity in stemming vices has also played a big role to aggravate the wickedness. The situation is compounded by lack of knowledge among parents and guardians who interfere with evidence by washing the victims.
Gatundu North deputy county commissioner Amos Mariba has regretted the upsurge of these vices calling for concerted efforts from all stakeholders. He says that although the capital offence accrues weighty penalties, more cases have not been prosecuted attributing this to evidence interference, leniency from parents and delayed court processes.
“We are on top of this and we will not allow criminals to walk freely after destroying lives of our innocent children,” he warns. Gatundu North Member of Parliament Annie Wanjiku Kibe also condemns the vice.
She vowed to push for more proactive measures to arrest the situation. “I strongly condemn the increase of defilement cases in Gatundu North and the country at large because they are demeaning to the survivors.
We need to devolve post-rape care in all our health centres because we have realised that there is a challenge with the survivors going to report these cases to police. We also need to train and dedicate officers who will deal with such cases,” she notes.