What you need to know:
- 13-year-old Monica defiled in 2015 by a man known to her family.
- He dumped her in a thicket and was rescued by a Good Samaritan.
- At the Hola Level 4 Hospital, doctors said the girl's condition was beyond their ability as she had suffered many tears. They were referred to Nairobi Women Hospital.
- Monica underwent three major operations because she could not attend to nature calls.
- She is battling fistula and memory loss.
- Her performance in school deteriorated - from a top student in her class, to coming last.
- Suspect still free, allegedly working as a tout in Mombasa.
Thirteen-year-old Monica (not her real name) still wakes up in the middle of the night screaming. Something her parents have had to live with since she was defiled in 2015.
Not only is she suffering from the trauma of the unfortunate experience, but the girl is also battling fistula and memory loss.
The events of January 3, 2015 lingers fresh in the minds of her parents who live in the sketchy structures within Hola Market, a few metres from the River Tana.
Jared and his wife left for work at Hola Irrigation Scheme, leaving behind 10-year-old Monica who was playing with her friends.
Amid their Kalongolongo game, an uninvited guest, who came with pleasantries joined them. The children knew him as Uncle Bakari.
He engaged Monica in a conversation, asking about her parents’ whereabouts. He asked her to take him to see her parents at the farm.
He, however, used a different route lying to Monica it was a shortcut. It led to a thicket, 3km from the girl’s home.
When Jared and wife got home that evening, their daughter was not home; they thought she was still out playing with her friends.
They got worried when by 8pm, the girl had not returned home. They searched all over their neighbourhood without success. Her playmates said she had accompanied a friendly man to the farm to see the parents.
The family reported the matter to the police in Hola, who immediately embarked on a search.
It was a long night for the family, and a sleepless one for the neighbours.
At 2 am, a call came in, Monica had been found. Her assailant had dumped her in the bush after defiling her. The girl crawled to a nearby house in the wee hours of the night, in the chilling cold.
Her groaning attracted the attention of the occupants.
"I almost fainted; the girl’s condition was heart breaking; you’d think she had been attacked by a wild animal, she had blood all over," recounts Ms Hadiya, the woman who saved her.
Fortunately, her husband knew Monica as he worked with her father at the farm. He called Monica’s parents who came almost immediately.
"We decided to take her to the hospital then alert the police; we were happy she was alive, but very sad she was not her piece, "says Jared, struggling to hold tears back.
At the Hola Level 4 Hospital, the doctors said the girl's condition was beyond their ability as she had suffered many tears. They were referred to Nairobi Women Hospital.
The journey to recovery has been even more painful owing to lack of finances to get proper treatment.
"She was a very jovial child, very smart. The kind that loved her friends and even guests. A beautiful heart. Looking at her now, I lock myself up in a room and cry bitterly, cursing the man who did this to my daughter," says her mother.
"You will see her fight in sleep, she sometimes even tears her bed sheets. I find her struggling as if trying to get herself lose,” she says.
The pain of a mother stings deep in her soul. It is evident the girl is at war with trauma and the mother is depressed and traumatised.
Her father says he feels his daughter’s pain and is at times lost on what to do to help her.
"I was so hurt, and I felt like the world was against me, but for the sake of my family, I chose to face the situation and hold my family together,” he says.
Monica underwent three major operations because she could not attend to nature calls because of the third-degree tears she suffered.
She stayed in hospital for three weeks and her family spent Sh75,000 for treatment.
"By the time I left hospital, I had nothing. I had to once again seek help from well-wishers who indeed came through for us. The church especially, was very helpful during our moments of trial," he said.
The father says his daughter’s performance in school deteriorated - from a top student in her class, to coming last.
KNOWN TO THEM
Police at Hola Police Station promised to arrest the man who had since fled.
The family says the suspect, well known to them, has not been arrested five years later.
His relatives say he fled to Mombasa where he operates as a tout in Bombolulu-Kisimani area.
The Police have asked the family to seek help from Mombasa.
"We were told to seek the intervention of the police in Mombasa, we went to Nyali Police Station and presented our case. The police instead asked us to present a photo of the man, which we could not find, hence we could not be helped,” says the frustrated father.
Still in Tana River County, Ms Fatuma Gafo is a broken mother after the police, whom she hoped would deliver justice to her family, turned against her.
Her 13-year-old daughter was defiled and impregnated in August 2017.
The family reported the case at the Hola Police Station filed under OB/09/21/8/2017, but the perpetrator walks free to date.
Three years later, her daughter’s life as never been the same.
In her case, the offended has become the offender. The police allegedly threatened to arrest her for pursuing the matter as the man involved was the son of a well-known public servant.
Justice, they say, has been defeated by the same police they believed in.
Tana River County Commander Fredrick Ochieng notes that though a majority of defilement cases took place long ago, his team will revisit each of them and ensure justice is served.