Betrayal of Trust: Father impregnates and infects daughter of 12

Ruth* was 12 years old when she got pregnant. The minor’s mother had noticed striking physiological changes in her daughter including nausea and vomiting. She decided to carry out a home pregnancy test that confirmed her worst fears.

A community health volunteer reported the case to KMET in late 2013 having learnt about KMET’s Young People Health and Empowerment program. We traced Ruth by paying a visit to her school but her teachers were reluctant to disclose any information.

After some probing, the teacher in charge of guidance and counseling eventually disclosed that Ruth exhibited symptoms of trauma. She said she could however, not establish the rumors around school that a family member was abusing Ruth since the girl was not willing to talk about the topic.

Early 2014, KMET involved the services of a Community Health Volunteer who lived closer to Ruth’s home. She formed a close relationship with Ruth’s mother all the while offering targeted information on sexual reproductive health and child rights to mother and daughter.

Ruth later disclosed that the father used to threaten her with a machete. “He warned to kill me should I speak to mama about what he used to do to me,” she narrated. The father reportedly used to molest and have intercourse with her on a number of occasions.

With this revelation, KMET involved the authorities but Ruth and her mother vanished after a few days while the case was building momentum. The minor had also tested positive for HIV.

After a few months, Ruth reappeared but this time she was not pregnant. We later established that the perpetrator had been threatening her family to get rid of the pregnancy. In Luo culture, it is chira (a curse) to conceive and carry your father’s ‘seed’.

The authorities pursued the case but before a court process was initiated, the father passed-on with a crime unpaid.

KMET implores you to join forces with us and other partners to put an end to sexual gender based violence by reporting any known case to the police or any civil society group around your area.

Call us for free on 0800724500 or contact these numbers for help; Child line Kenya-116 and Health Assistance Kenya-1195.

Help us break the silence on such instances of human rights violation by sharing your story with us. It is through the documented cases that we can demonstrate how real the situation is and influence programs to support survivors and their families.

 

 

Illustration Courtesy of www.behance.net

Ruth* is not the survivor’s real name. Some information has been omitted and/or altered to protect the subject’s identity.

To write to us email info@kmet.co.ke and/or marketing@kmet.co.ke

 

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Importance of Cervical Cancer Screening.

Cervical-cancer-awareness-support-image9

Kisumu City is the third largest city in Kenya with a population of 968,909 with 50.1% being women population. Even though there have been concerted efforts by both the private sector and the government to raise awareness on the benefits of early cervical cancer screening, studies show that a paltry one third of the women have ever heard of cervical cancer.

Early cervical cancer screening averts cases of full blown and complex cancer by identifying the disease at its early stages. When identified early, cervical cancer can be treated in a simple procedure known as cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy is medical procedure that destroys abnormal tissue on the cervix by freezing it. It destroys some normal tissue along with the abnormal tissue. During cryotherapy, liquid carbon dioxide (CO2), which is very cold, circulates through a probe placed next to the abnormal tissue. This freezes the tissue for 2 to 3 minutes.

Should one be diagnosed with cancer at advanced stages, more complex treatment procedures will be required which is not only expensive but also slow.

For example in  Kisumu, cancer patients seeking treatment at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital have to wait for one week for admission to undergo chemotherapy as the hospital lacks enough staff to carry out the treatment even though there is enough equipment. It is reported that one clinician serves about 30 patients. Most of them are treatment of cervical cancer.

A clinician should handle at least five patients, but due to many women not going for regular screening many of them turn  up for cervical cancer  treatment when it is full blown hence many patients to be attended to.

It is proven that early and regular cervical cancer screening reduces incidences of maternal mortality.  Studies show that the late stage at which women get diagnosed reduces their chances of survival.

Diagnosis of cervical cancer requires visual inspection of the cervix, this  is a screening tool for low resource setting and it’s economical and it provides immediate results and do not require any Laboratory support. This can be performed with acetic acid (VIA) or Lugol’s iodine (VILI). The procedures are also known as Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) or Visual Inspection with Lugol’s Iodine (VILI).

Another method is a Pap test  which  is performed by opening the vaginal canal with a speculum,  then collect cells from the surface of the cervix and vagina ,a sample of cervical tissue (called a biopsy) is  then taken and analyzed under a microscope to find out if they are abnormal. It’s also called a Pap smear.

It’s advisable to have screening in the middle of your menstrual cycle, halfway between one period and the next; this enables the cytologist to examine the best possible specimen to achieve the best possible report, when going for screening do not have sexual intercourse 24 hours before your screening, do not use a tampon for at least two days, wear a skirt, be relaxed to avoid discomfort.

Call:  (0800724500) from 8am-8pm free of charge should you want a VIA and VILI or for more information.

Tom Mboya Estate, off Kondele-Airport Ring road

P.O Box 6805-40103. Kisumu

Website: www.kmet.co.ke

Email: info@kmet.co.ke

You can also visit our clinic: Kmet Health Complex Headquarters for quality but affordable preventive and curative services.

Done by Beryl Onyango and Ashiembi

Sexual and gender based violence: The Kenyan situation

 

Stopping sexual and gender based violence is a multi-sectoral approach

Stopping sexual and gender based violence is a multi-sectoral approach

In Kenyan communities, wife beating was a common occurrence. The women suffered at the hands of men because this was considered a disciplinary measure. Since the menfolk were dominant they were supposed to inflict pain and cause emotional turmoil to women to control them. In modern times such acts disregard the law particularly on human rights. The constitution of Kenya spells out the rights of each person alongside 

Hiding behind this veil has contributed to these modern times abuse on women. Every day a woman somewhere suffers abuse, is violated adding to the alarming statistics of gender based violence incidences. 

In 1993, the first attempts to clearly define sexual and gender based violence was made at the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

It’s defined: Any harmful act that is perpetrated against one person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between males and females.  It includes acts that inflict physical, mental, or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. 

SGBV entails widespread human rights violations, and is often linked to unequal gender relations within communities and abuses of power.  According to Human Rights Activists, violence against women is rooted in gender inequality.   It arises from the unequal power relationships between men and women.

 It can take the form of sexual violence or persecution by the authorities, or can be the result of discrimination embedded in legislation or prevailing societal norms and practices. It can be both a cause of forced displacement and an intolerable part of the displacement experience.

Women’s subordinate status to men in many societies, coupled with a general acceptance of interpersonal violence as a means of resolving conflict, renders women disproportionately vulnerable to violence from all levels of society: individual men, within the family and community, and by the state.

According to statistics from the Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) 45% of women between ages 15 – 49 in Kenya have experienced either physical or sexual violence with women and girls accounting for 90% of the gender based violence (GBV) cases reported. One in five Kenyan women (21%) has experienced sexual violence

The impact of SGBV is devastating. The individual women who are victims of such violence often experience life-long emotional distress, mental health problems and poor reproductive health, as well as being at higher risk of acquiring HIV and intensive long-term users of health services.

In addition, the cost to women, their children, families and communities is a significant obstacle to reducing poverty, achieving gender equality and ensuring a peaceful transition for post-conflict societies.

 This, in conjunction with the mental and physical health implications of gender-based violence, impacts on a state or region’s ability to develop and construct a stable, productive society, or reconstruct a country in the wake of conflict.

Culture has been cited as the leading cause of violence against women. Some men it seems still subscribe to outdated traditions e.g. that battering a woman is seen as a way of discipline and is acceptable.

Financial insecurity has also been said to be a factor. The role of a man has been established as that of a leader and a provider and in some cases where a man fails to establish his authority in these areas, he ends up resorting to physical abuse.

Alcohol and drugs have also led many men, unfortunately, into violence against women. Cases of men coming home drunk and mercilessly beating and defiling their spouses and children have made news.

By Don King

The next article will handle the legal framework and challenges on SGBV.

 

HIV/AIDS AND CONDOM AVERSION: ENGINEERING THE “COOL” CONDOM

rolled cdChoosing the wrong condom size is common among teenagers and young adults. The wrong size can be so constricting cutting off the blood flow and as a consequence becomes rather restrictive during intercourse. This occurrence has also largely made the youth stay away from condoms. However, this needs one to be a bit more informed since condoms in the market come in three categories, the small condoms, regular size condoms and large condoms. Click here
to read more of this  guest article on our website.