Did you know that a rape victim is statistically more likely to get raped again than a female who has never been raped? There’s no common denominator like- job, age or even neighborhood. It’s just that if it happened once, it’s more likely to happen again.
In a 1999 longitudinal study of 3,000 women, researchers found women who had been victimized before were seven times more likely to be raped again.
Vera*(not her real name) had just lost her parents at the age of thirteen and the future seemed so dark. Being the first born, she assumed the role of a parent to her siblings who were still young.
Luckily, she got a job as a house help and now her siblings could find something to eat. Little did she know that hell was about to break loose. One evening while she was going about her duties her employer’s husband raped her and threatened to take away her job if she dared say a thing.
This went on for two years without the wife’s knowledge and when she complained of experiencing pain, this man would only say isebet kitimo chode (you have been prostituting).
One fine morning, her Aunt decided to come for her and take her to school where her children were also studying. Her life had just begun to show some light and there was so much hope for the future, this time round nothing could go wrong.
One day after classes her teacher sent her to clean the chicken house and she went without hesitating, he later asked her to wash the dishes and this was another sad ending as she was raped again! Something she thought would never happen.
She sought for someone to confide in and at that time her uncle was the only one but too bad she was already pregnant and her teacher opted to marry her at seventeen.
Pain from the memories of her previous rapist were fresh in her mind whenever she got intimate with her husband and this went on for two years till she felt she could not take it anymore. Her husband got angry and most times he would leave the house without giving her any money yet she had a baby to take care of.
This was not happening again, this time round she had to be in control, enough of all the pain! She decided to escape and rent her own house with her now two children. Her job was well paying, the only job this sad world had taught her and she did not care what anyone else thought-she was a prostitute!
Her job would end late yet with two young children she had to rush back home at odd hours. One night along the street he met with three men who wanted to gang rape her, she had to think fast.
“I have AIDS”, she yelled. Luckily enough two of the men who could not stand the thought of contracting the disease left and she was left with one who was very persistent. She later managed to escape with the help of a motorist passing by.
“I haven’t shared my story with any one till I came to Kmet to gain basic skills. My teacher has been very supportive and that’s why i decided to open up to her, she counseled me and even gave me a shoulder to cry on .I feel better now, I don’t prostitute any more”. She concluded.
In order to reduce occurrences of SGBV, KMET has come up with Freedom House (rescue center) to help tackle challenges young women face. It aims to educate and empower GBV victims as well as give them the opportunity to indulge, share and overcome experiences of abuse.
Ending the violence starts with you and that is why we encourage everyone to be responsible enough to report the cases at any nearest responsible center.
You can also 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 JOOTRH Gender based Violence Centre Call 07141388868 or beep for medical attention.
By, Beryl Onyango