ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

AAK January Newsletter 2017

#STOP Gender Based Violence 

In Kenya, as in other places worldwide, GBV occurs in diverse forms across all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and include physical, sexual, emotional (psychological), economic violence and harmful traditional practices.   

WHO defines Gender based violence as  “any harmful act that is perpetrated against one person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between males and females”.  It includes acts that inflict physical, mental, or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. 

The Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014, indicates that 45% of Kenyan women aged 15 – 49yrs have experienced physical violence since attaining the age of 15. While the   Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) records 45% of women between ages 15 – 49 have experienced either physical or sexual violence, with women and girls accounting for 90% of the gender based violence (GBV) cases reported. One in five Kenyan women (21%) has experienced sexual violence. 

Women who are survivors of GBV more often than not experience life-long emotional distress, psychological health problems and poor reproductive health, and may become intensive long-term users of health services. Additionally, the cost to women, their children, families and communities is a major obstacle to reducing poverty and achieving gender equality. 

Kenyan government  has put in place progressive legal and policy framework that  include:  Constitution (2010), the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (2011), the Sexual Offences Act (2006), the Protection against Violence Act (2015),  the Children’s Act (2001) the National Gender and Equality Commission Act (2011), and the Penal Code (2009) that are key national legislations that protect women by providing the prevention, response and management of GBV and SGBV. 

However, Women and girls suffering from gender based violence remain high.  The criminal justice system which includes the police and judicial processes suffer from irregularities and inconsistences causing GBV survivors to lose their confidence in the system. Consequently, many more cases have gone unreported, coupled with ignorance, fear of stigma, intimidation by perpetrators and fear of interference of cases by family members. 

In realizing that the main perpetrators of physical violence against women are their husbands, AAIK worked with other stakeholders to mobilize support and subsequent realization of the Protection against Domestic Violence Act in 2015 that now provides maximum protection and relief to survivors of domestic violence, including spouse, children and dependent persons.  Programmatically, we continue to support and advocate for eradication of harmful practices as well as creating safe spaces for women and girl in public and private spaces. 

The  impact of GBV is disturbing; with your support and the support of women, communities and people living in poverty and exclusion; we soldier on to #endGBV