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Rise in defilement, teenage pregnancies in Kitui County worry stakeholders

Anti-Gender Based Violence (GBV) crusaders in Kitui County have decried increasing cases of defilement and teenage pregnancies.

Anti-GBV stakeholders drawn from various government departments in Kitui County attending the county GBV meeting to sensitize them on alarming local GBV cases.

The crusaders regretted that 80 per cent of the GBV cases reported were of defilement in nature and there was a need for urgent intervention to save the underage girls from sexual abuse as well as from becoming mothers at a tender age.

The crusaders were speaking on Monday November 21 during a forum to sensitize anti-GBV stakeholders drawn from various government agencies on the alarming vice held at Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri) in Kitui town.

"GBV cases reported are increasing at a rate of 12 per cent yearly with over 80 per cent of cases being defilement followed by domestic violence and assault among others cases," Kitui County Director for Gender Affairs Luciana Ndila expressed concern while speaking during the meeting organized by State Department for Gender. 

Ms Ndila lamented that local communities were insensitive to GBV crimes being committed in their respective areas.

According to the county health data presented during the meeting, there were 4128 cases of teenage pregnancies of young girls of between 9 years to 17 years as the data compiled from June 2019 to January this year across the county revealed. "We need to discuss the matter urgently and with much sensitivity so as to comprehend what we are doing wrong and what we should do right.” advised Ms Ndila.

Justice for victims

The meeting further regretted that out of the alarming cases of reported teenage pregnancies very few cases were prosecuted. This curtailed justice for the victims of the abuse.

According to the report, only 27 cases of defilement from across Kitui county are in court. The youngest victim was aged 4 years while the oldest was 17. The 27 cases as per regions includes one from Mwingi North. Kitui Central had nine cases. Mwingi Central and Kitui South had five and six cases respectively. 

Others are Mutula village which had two cases while Kwa Vonza, Kanyangi and Kyusyani regions had two case each.

The stakeholders meeting blamed illiteracy for contributing to the increasing vice and especially among rural areas folks, observing that the vice was mainly happening at the grassroots in the rural areas.  

The stakeholders lamented that due to the illiteracy and low level of education, Majority of victims GBV are unaware of their rights and even how respond on GBV cases. 

The forum decried that due the illiteracy most cases were either settled through cash compensation between parties concerned with the least amount being KSh40,000 while other cases end up at Kangaroo courts leading to perpetrators to evade judicial justice. 


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