The Center for Human Rights and Civic Education project officer, Christine Kalikanda has decried an upsurge in cases of gender-based violence and incest in Kitui County.
Last week, a man vanished after defiling and poisoning his niece in Mwingi North. Three days ago, a man was reported to have defiled his 15-year-old daughter at night while her mother was away.
His explanation for turning on his child was that he was punishing his wife for not leaving her daughter with her parents as he had suggested.
Apart from these cases of incest, Kalikanda also stated that there have been several cases reported of older men luring underage girls into sex with promises of money or goodies, in the full glare of their neighbors without parents being aware.
The human rights officer said she is especially concerned about the fact that perpetrators always seem to get tipped off in advance and they vanish before they are arrested.
She also spoke about other cases where the victims are either threatened or coached that by the time they get to court, some of them recant their statements and the perpetrators are set free.
Speaking at her offices in Mwingi Town, Kalikanda asked all the people responsible to take charge of their responsibilities.
Police officers should be on the lookout for such incidences and arrest the perpetrators immediately.
The community should also be vigilant and report these unlawful acts to authorities. Parents are also urged to protect their children from predators.
“If you must send your child to the shops, kindly do so before it gets dark because some of them are waylaid during such late errands,” Kalikanda advised
She also said her organization is collaborating with the Area Advisory Council on matters of children, Court Users Committee and Kitui County Technical Working Group and the Kitui County Gender Department to find methods of ending gender-based violence and incest in Kitui County.
She said the organization previously carried out sensitization programs for young girls and taught them about their rights and how to protect themselves, but the program has since run out of funds.
So far they have only been able to carry out these sensitization programs through schools, churches, and the local media.
“There is no justification for defilement, incest and gender-based violence. Whatever differences occur between couples should not be transferred to the children in whatever instance. We must all stand and speak against this vice for it to come to an end,” she reiterated.
The organization is currently working together with the Kitui CEC member Hellen Ken, who is also spearheading this campaign to come to a point where these cases are either reduced or completely eradicated. They vowed to ensure that all these cases are reported, and all concerned authorities, including police and hospitals, play their part well.