Gender-based violence on the rise since curfew impositioning

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Fida received more child custody and maintenance cases compared to gender violence cases within the first three weeks of launching their hotline.
The gender-based violence hotline launched on April 15 had received 289 cases as of May 3 and is an intervention in response to the increasing number of gender violence cases in the country.
“The highest number of cases reported were gender-based violence cases at 81 and child custody and maintenance cases at 117,” Fida said.
Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa were the regions with the most reported cases.
“Other counties include Kakamega, Kajiado, Kiambu, Kilifi, Uasin Gishu, Taita Taveta, Vihiga, Bungoma, Lamu, Siaya, Kitui and Nakuru,” the press statement reads.
The nature of gender-based violence cases commonly reported is intimate partner violence, defilement and rape, especially in Nairobi and Kisumu.
Widow eviction and physical violence by in-laws are mostly prevalent in the Western region.
Taking into account the effects violence has on the survivors, the lawyers asked the government to tackle gender violence with the seriousness it deserves.
“For example, one case of gender-based violence by in-laws resulted in the woman miscarrying a four-month pregnancy. One of the rape cases resulted in the victim suffering a perforated uterus,” Fida said.
The organization attributes the increasing number of cases to the many hours spent with abusive partners and the lack of safe shelters for victims.
“Sadly we have also noted that while the government directives including the dusk-to-dawn curfew and the cessation of movement to and from some counties are important for the prevention and spread of Covid-19.”
“It has had the implication of taking away the options of women and girls in abusive relationships escaping to relatives upcountry for their safety,” the statement reads.
The lawyers called upon the government to establish safe spaces and shelters in all counties where women and girls can get temporary shelter as they escape their abusers.
“We also ask that they include women and girls at risk of abuse in the social protection measures that are targeted at the vulnerable members of our society during this difficult period,” Fida said.
Gender CS Margaret Kobia reported the national gender-based violence hotline registered 201 cases between February and March.
In three weeks, the numbers went up from 86 in February to 115 in March, the month President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a directive for the 7pm-to-5am curfew.
Kobia reported that the leading forms of violence are physical assault, psychological torture and defilement.
“Women in quarantine face increased risks of intimate partner violence. Girls staying home from school are vulnerable to forms of abuse such as defilement and female genital mutilation,” the CS said.
“The economic dependence and marginalization of women make them more vulnerable, especially amid a pandemic.”
According to Counting Dead Women Kenya database, 21 women were killed through acts of femicide between January and April 20.

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