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.