Women Rights Advisor to the President, Harriette Chiggai has condemned rising cases of Intimate Partner Violence and called for collective action by all stakeholders to end the vice.
Chiggai said there are growing concerns about the well-being of women and girls. She called for more collaboration to end all violence in the country.
She said the victims of intimate partner violence should not be condemned and regretted that they have become statistics, and are among the women and girls who have suffered violence and did not deserve to die.
“I speak today not only as the Women’s Rights Advisor to the President but also as a woman, a mother, and a Kenyan struggling to understand how our society has allowed such a decay that does not hold human life sacred and worse still that looks at women as objects to be abused,” she regretted.
“I urge all of us to avoid victim blaming because no one deserves to be killed under any circumstance,” said Chiggai
“One lost child is one too many for society. However, given what is happening, I urge our daughters to exercise caution on how and with whom they interact with on social platforms.” She added
Chiggai made the remarks in Nairobi. She was flanked by key women leaders, including Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Gladys Boss Shollei, and Senator Catherine Muuma.
Collectively they condemned the rising cases of IPV.
She urged religious leaders to use their platforms to speak well of women. They should also help their congregations see that women’s rights are human rights. This will create a positive environment for women and children.
Chiggai announced that the Government is committed to ensuring that the structures that respond and support survivors do not re-victimize them.
“I have seen comments from different quarters stating that our children, Scarlet Wahu, Rita Waine, and just yesterday (Thursday), a woman who was killed by her husband deserved to be killed! These and many other women and girls have suffered the fate of violence that we as a society have refused to address,” she stated.
“Let us be mindful that we do not add the cold rain of judgment to their already soaked spirits. Let us be sensitive to the families that have lost their loved ones,” she urged.
The advisor also reiterated that the Government in its women’s agenda pledged to end all violence. But, she noted that one part of the government, one group, or one person alone cannot do the work.
“We are standing here today as women leaders from all walks of life to not only condemn the violence meted upon women and girls but to also have an intimate conversation on how we can all participate in stopping the vice in the society,”
She said the government will do all it can to catch the suspects but also urge the courts to speed up cases of intimate partner violence.
Chiggai also said her office will continue engaging and working together with the judiciary to see how best survivors can be treated with dignity in courts and that these cases do not be delayed.
She also pledged to work with women Members of Parliament to push for stiffer penalties to address intimate partner violence cases noting their misogynistic nature.
“As the gender data champion in Government, I have been discussing how to ensure that we have good frameworks to collect data. As we all know, data informs policy and better practice,” she said
The presidential advisor said her office focuses on issues to do with psychosocial support and safe spaces for women and children. She indicated that her office will be making county visits to engage with women and children adding that she is looking forward to hearing solutions from communities that will inform how best the government responds to the women of this country.
She promised to use her office to ensure perpetrators of violence against women are brought to book.
“We appreciate the men who have supported us in this course, our fathers, brothers. They might sound few but their voice is key in this matter. Every life matters,” she said
“Let us put all our hands on deck from wherever we are to respond to these heinous crimes. Those who are planning to rape and kill our girls your days are numbered!” she warned.
Present at the briefing were, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Gladys Shollei, Senator Catherine Mumma, Deputy Chair KEWOPA, Dr. Damaris Wameu, Director KEMRI, Mutisya Mueni, In Charge Gender, Anti-Trafficking, and Child Protection Unit, former MP Danita Ghati, who was Representing Women with Disabilities and Adelina Mwau former Deputy Governor for Makueni County.