Meet “Judy” not her real name from Ikutha town Kitui south she is a victim of defilement by non-other than her biological father .Judy who identifies the man as her father was sexually molested five years ago at the age of 17, unfortunately the suspect has never faced justice for the ills he has done to his first born daughter.
“…Ilikuwa saa nne usiku hivi, babangu akakuja kwa kitanda yangu …akaniamsha twende..nilipomuuliza wapi akasema hataki kuskia maneno mengi kutoka kwangu…nilikuwa nimelala na dada yangu mdogo ambaye hakujua nini ilikuwa ianendelea. It was around 10.00pm when my dad woke me up and asked me to follow him. He didn’t want excuses …by then I was sleeping with my younger sister who was deep asleep,” she said.
Narrating her ordeal Judy alleges that the first time her father violated her innocence was when she was in class 7. She describes the ordeal as painful and an incident that has never been erased from her mind. Her misfortune she says was fuelled by her mother’s absence in the house in that she had gone to visit her husband’s father in order to help him with the farm activities.
“Alinishika mkono akanipeleka kwa room yake ……akaniambia nitoe nguo…nilipokataa alinibeba juu akanirusha kwa kitanda, akanitoa nguo halafu akalala na Mimi. He held my hand directing me to his room…he ordered me to remove clothes…when I refused he grabbed me and threw me on the bed…then he defiled me,” Judy added.
This was the first time he did this and sadly this would not be the last.
Judy’s attempt to get justice hit a snag the moment her mother came back from visiting her grandfather in that due to fear everything was put under wraps.
“Mama alijaribu kumuuliza babangu kuhusu hicho kitendo, babangu akakana.My mother sought answers from my dad with regards to the defilement incident but he denied, “she narrates.
Getting wind of the incident Judy’s grandfather immediately called for a family meeting to try resolve the issue before it reaches the authorities but sadly to Judy things didn’t go as planned in that her father conspired with her mother to not hide the truth.
“Sijui jinsi babu yangu alifahamu kuhusiana na kitendo hiki, aliwaita wazazi wangu wote pamoja na mimi twenda kwake tueleze ukweli..babangu aliniambia kuwa sitaenda nao….walipokuwa wakienda mamangu alinifichulia kuwa babngu alimtishia dhidi ya kusema ukweli wakifika kwa babu…sijui nini nyingine walizungumza huko kwa babu kwa sababu mambo yalikimya tu. My grandfather later got wind of the defilement case, he called for a family meeting in order to understand what really transpired ….my Dad told me that I won’t be part of the delegation to whom I asked why…..my mum later revealed to me that as they were on their way to my grandfather’s place, my dad warned her of revealing the truth to my grandfather….till now I have never known what transpired in that meeting,” she said.
The defilement by her father happened time and again, the second incident happening on June 26 2020. It happened again when Judy’s mother was away .this time it happened at her father’s shop at around 11pm.
“Babangu aliniamsha usiku around saa tano nimpee redio, kisha akanivuta mkono ili kutoka nje…nilipoangalia mkono wake wa kushoto alikuwa amebeba kisu …akaniambai kuwa hiyo siku lazima angelala na mimi..eti lazima angezaa na mimi. alinitishia kupiga kelele coz angeniuwa. My dad woke me up at around 11.00 pm in order to give him his radio…he later pulled my hand as he directed me out of the house…I later noticed that he was holding a knife on the other hand….he told me that he was going to sleep with me that night….he warned me not to scream or else he would kill me, “Judy revealed.
“Alinivuta hadi ndani ya duka lake, akafunga mlango na kisha akalala na mimi tena.While inside his shop he closed it and later raped me again,” she Said
The following day she disclosed the heinous incident to her neighbor that her dad had acted in appropriately with her.
“The following day nilienda kumfichulia jirani aliyeripoti moja kwa moja kwa mzee wa kijiji ambaye aliripoti kwa chifu…The following day I reported the incident to our neighbor who later Alerted one of the nyumba kumi elders and later area chief,” she said.
They reported the incident at the Ikutha police station in order to take action. The police officers later arrested Judy’s dad, Judy was taken to the hospital where she took a medical test and the results came out positive.
but even after all this things took a turn in that after few weeks the perpetrator was freed making life more difficult for Judy who was now fearing for her life, her mums together with her siblings.
” Polisi walifuatilia hiyo story hadi babangu akapelekwa kotini kwa sababu kulikuwa na evidence baada ya kupimwa…lakini one week haikuisha babangu akarudi tena kwa boma.Police officers followed up with the case where they ensured my dad was charged …but to my shock after a week my dad was later released,” she continued.
Judy even narrates how it reached a point where her father requested for sexual favors before he could help her.
“Kuna neno babangu aliniambia nikashtuka…ilikuwa nimeenda kumuuliza pesa za skati ambayo ilikuwa imenibana nilikuwa nataka kwenda kwa fundi kuipanua angalau, ..akaniambia hawezi nipa pesa bila ya kulala na Mimi. There was this day I went to ask my dad for money in order to repair my skirt because I had added weight but to my surprise he told me that he could only do so if he slept with me, “she said.
For Judy the exploitation has been extensive and potentially life damaging. Her father’s family wanted to solve the issue through traditional ways but her refusal to adhere to this has seen her to be named as an outcast her paternal relatives want nothing to do with her.
“Nikijaribu kuinua sauti kufichua yaliyotendeka familia wanakataa wanasema kuwa relative yao hawezi fanya kitendo kama hicho wakidai kuwa mimi nilikuwa nadanganya. Whenever I tried to talk about these incidents to my relatives, they told me to shut up because they believed I was lying,” she says.
When the third defilement case happened in March 2022, this prompted Judy to act and decide what she really wanted for her life and education. By now she was in high school, form 2 to be precise. She could not fathom this kind of abuse any more. That is when she decided to run away from home in Kitui at 2am in the morning.
While at her neighbors seeking refuge she contacted her Aunt in Kibra Nairobi. Her aunt “Jane” later arranged her transport to Nairobi.
“Nilienda hadi kwa jirani nikamueleza kilichotokea…baadaye nikampigia Aunty yangu aliyekuwa kibra nairobi..kisha baada ya kuniskiza aliweza niamrisha nipande gari za kuenda nairobi kwani angenilipia nauli.I went to my neighbor’s place where I revealed to her what had transpired, after hearing me out she made a call to my Aunt who was living in Kibra Nairobi …my Aunt asked my neighbor to take me board a Bus to Nairobi as she would pay for transport,” she said.
Judy’s Aunt “Jane” is battling feelings of guilt and regret her redemption is her sustained fight to get her niece justice at any and all cost.
“Kama inawezekana huyu mume ashikwe na kuchukuliwa hatua itakuwa vizuri sana…ametusumbua kwa muda mrefu…nililia machozi nilipoambiwa hiki kisa….na sitanyamaza, nitaendelea kutoa sauti hadi pale haki itatendeka…nilienda nairobi women, crew ili kupata usaidizi…what I want is justice to be done, I want this man to be charged he has been a nuisance for quite some time now…I will never keep quite ..,” she said.
According to the gender based violence hotline 1195, for the year 208 to 2021, 59 of the 160 incest cases reported in the country were committed by fathers mostly at home.
It is for these reasons that a number of organizations dealing with the rights of children have come together to spearhead a stop incest campaign in order to reduce or get rid of the vice in the society.
Dr Jean Kaggia a Kenyan obstetrician gynecologist who is also the founder of Kiota rescue homes in Kenya that take in girls who are sexually violated at home and are pregnant says that cases of incest in the country are on the rise.
She alleges that during covid19 times the rescue centers had saved 145 girls of these 11% were from incest cases mostly perpetrated by fathers, brothers, step fathers and relatives
“Out of the 145 girls we had at our rescue home in 2021 during covid19 time, 11% of them were from incest, what was even more shocking is that out of the 10, 3 of them were from grandfathers, that raised some worry to us,” Kaggia said.
She also raised an alarm over increasing cases of wives protecting their husbands in cases where fathers have defiled their daughters.
“One of the other things we discovered is that when wives come to know about defilement cases involving their husbands, they usually end up protecting their husbands instead, so the child is left on her own far from the father to continue doing what he is doing because he is being protected by his dear wife, “she revealed.
She is further calling on religious institutions to raise alarm over the sharp rise of incest cases and speak against it in there sermons in Sunday schools and even in youth ministries so as to eradicate the vice which is now rampant.
“The most critical group in the church is the one which is working with Sunday schools and youth groups because these groups are the ones that are mostly targeted…a Sunday school teacher can be able to identify a changed temperament in a child because children rarely talk if they have undergone abuse at home,” she said.
Humphrey Lando a children officer from Kibra who is currently handling Judy’s case promised to get justice for Judy even though he says it has been a tough journey to get evidence alluding to the Kitui family’s influence.
“It has been quite a journey but I can smell victory…we are going to pursue this case to its logical end,” he said.
BY WEMA TOYWA #WEMA’STAKE