Nerea a twelve year old is the first born in a family of three siblings. Occasionally she has to take up her mother’s responsibilities whenever she flees her matrimonial home due to her husband’s physical abuse.
Late last year, her mother learnt that these duties were not limited to house chores; Nerea had to fulfil her father’s sexual needs as well. She had presented malaria-like symptoms but was confirmed pregnant when she was taken to hospital.
Nerea opened up to her mother about how the father frequently defiled her. Nerea’s mother confronted her husband and his response confirmed her fears. He threatened to kill both mother and daughter should any of them talk to anyone about the issue.
Information about the defilement somehow got round and in 2016, KMET learnt about Nerea’s case through the Kisumu Gender Technical Working Group WhatsApp group.
It was said that the mother was terrified of reporting the case to the police due to her husband’s constant threats. Fortunately, through the office of the assistant chief, with the help of a social worker, and the community’s paralegal, the girl was successfully rescued.
The paralegal clarified to Nerea’s mother, the legal implications of having Nerea at home without lodging a complaint with the police and she agreed to push through with the legal process. She took her daughter for medical examination at the Kisumu Gender Violence Recovery Centre and thereafter, she recorded a statement with the police.
Due to the sensitive nature of the case, Nerea was admitted at the KMET Freedom House. The Freedom House offers respite, security, emotional support, food, clothes and medical care for adolescents who have undergone gender and sexual violence.
One day during her five-day stay at KMET, she recounted how her father had repeatedly defiled her for months.
“He used to come to my room, put a panga next to my bed and threaten to kill me if I didn’t remain silent. He would then have his way with me,” narrated Nerea.
KMET liaised with Agape Childrens Home in Kisumu to accommodate Nerea to enable her continue with her studies temporarily. She was six months pregnant then.
Agape could not house Nerea for too long as well since they were not fully equipped to host a child with pre-natal needs. She stayed at Agape Children’s Home for a little over a month.
Finally, KMET approached Kiota Homes located in Muranga and the home agreed to take her in until she delivers and gives the newborn for adoption. Nerea’s mother consented to the adoption of the unborn child.
All this while the perpetrator- Nerea’s father was still at large. The Kisumu children’s department advised that the case had to be mentioned in court before Nereah was taken to Murang’a.
A trap was laid for the perpetrator with the help of Kondele police station and he was arrested on 22 April 2016, the same day the case was mentioned. Nerea travelled to Kiota homes and the perpetrator is currently being held at Kodiaga prison awaiting the court process.
However, like KMET and Agape Children’s Home, Kiota Home is just a holding center. After Nerea gives birth, she will have to vacate the home.
When asked what she wanted the most, Nerea had said her biggest wish was to go back to school.
Kiota Home advises that Nerea should be enrolled into a boarding school after she leaves the home but her mother who is jobless cannot afford to take her through school, much less through boarding school. The family’s breadwinner is now in jail but all Nerea wants is to go back to school like girls her age.
KMET has witnessed and handled several incest cases like Nerea’s from Western Kenya ( Betrayal of trust as father impregnates daughter) a fact supported by the 2015 annual crime report released by the Inspector General of Police in March this year. The report singled out defilement as the leading form of morality crime.
Defilement cases rose to 4,495 in 2015 from 3,685 in 2014 and the situation seems to be worsening. This needs to get the conversation started… Are we doing enough as a society to protect our children? What more needs to be done?