Men have been challenged to be on the frontline in the war against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Men are seen as the major perpetrators of the triple threat that is SGBV, teenage pregnancies and new HIV infections.
However, Inua Mama Mjane and Young Women for Awareness, Agency, Advocacy and Accountability (YW4A) are rallying young men to be champions of positive masculinity.
According to Inua Mama Mjane Director Cynthia Kinanu, there was also a need to increase advocacy among men so they can report violations against them.
“In most of the cases we receive, men are the accused. Rarely do we have cases where a man has been violated by a woman, because they do not want to report. We are encouraging men to lead the war on eradicating SGBV, teenage pregnancies and new HIV infections. If men take it upon themselves, we can significantly reduce the threat,” Ms Kinanu said.
Speaking during a training forum for boda riders in Meru town, Ms Kinanu said Meru was in the spotlight for high cases of teenage pregnancies, with the recent Kenya Demographic and Health Survey indicating 24 per cent.
“We want the boda riders to be enlightened on these threats because in some instances, teen pregnancies have been attributed to the industry. The riders are also in many cases the first responders when incidents happen. They can play a significant role in this fight,” she said.
Ms Kinanu also expressed concern over increasing cases of intimate partner violence in Meru, with most of the incidents being reported to the chiefs.
A recent survey by Inua Mama Mjane indicated that many cases of rape, defilement and intimate partner violence were not finding their way in court.
Last month, Chief Justice Martha Koome said the Judiciary would establish a specialised SGBV court in Meru to expedite delivery of justice for victims and suspects.
The Chief Justice noted that Meru has been identified as one of the SGBV hotspots in the country and the court would be established by the end of the financial year.
Stakeholders have also called for an amendment to the penal code to identify GBV as a form of assault.
There are also calls for improvement in handling of evidence for sexual offences, provision of psychological support for victims and facilitation for DNA collection.