How well are hospitals prepared to handle sexual violence cases?

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A family in Kisumu’s Nyalenda estate is yet to come to terms with an incident where their two-year-old daughter has been defiled but no one brought to book since the girl is not able to talk.

It was a normal evening in the month of May 2015 when Pat* went out to play with other children within the neighborhood while her mother was taking shower.

Later on Pat’s mother, a 20 year old tailor, looked for her and found her at neighbor’s place, playing but upon reaching home, Pat said she wanted to go for a short call and this is when her mother noticed that her under garments was unusually dirty, characterized with some fluids.

She shared her fears with Pat’s dad who had already arrived from work and they both felt something unusual had happened to their daughter.

They tried to question Pat if anyone had touched her but she was too traumatized to say anything. They decided to take Pat to Kisumu County hospital where a provider examined Pat and confirmed that she was indeed defiled.

Ironically, the girl did not receive any medical attention, but was given a treatment appointment for the next day. Worse still, the case was never reported to the police.

According to the survivor’s mother, there was no need to report the incident to the police because their daughter would not talk hence cannot identify the perpetrator.

Unfortunately for Pat, she was not to receive any medical care for five days; not even the HIV prevention drugs commonly known as PEP due to the back and forth referrals she kept she was given at one of the at one of the referral hospitals in Kisumu County.

‘Every time I went, I found a different provider who would refer me to the one who served us first. Since he was not in, they kept giving me appointment for a next day that never came. I gave up,’ laments Pat’s mother.
Five days later when she could not get help at the government hospital, she went to a nearby private health facility.

After assessing the case, daughter and mother were referred to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) where Pat was finally attended at the gender violence recover centre.

She was admitted for a week and underwent treatment for the physical injuries. She could not be started on HIV preventive drugs since the seventy-two hours period for initiating PEP had elapsed.

Although discharged, the child still goes for psychosocial support services at the JOOTRH Gender Violence Recovery Center, the only of its kind in Kisumu County.

The centre houses clinical officers, lab technologists, trauma conselors and recovery rooms dedicated to gender and sexual violence cases working from 8 a.m – 5 p.m on weekdays. The KEMRI/CDC supported centre however does not operate on weekends and at night.

Pat is not just a defilement survivor but her case also exposes the loopholes in our county health facilities that may add to the pain of sexual gender based violence survivors. Pat’s story raises some serious questions concerning the plight of sexual gender based violence survivors.

Do our health facilities have the capacity and resources to handle survivors of sexual violence? Is the public aware of what to do in case of sexual abuse?

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

If you wish to contact the JOOTRH Gender Violence Recover Centre Call 07141388868 or beep for medical attention.

Or contact us via email or
Help us break the silence on such instances of human rights violation by sharing your story with us.

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We are on twitter. @Kmet_Kenya



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