What you need to know:
- Women legislators want an end to traditional alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that deny violated women and girls access to justice.
- Dagoretti North Member of Parliament Beatrice Elachi concerned about the SGBV targeting women politicians.
As the country marks 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, women legislators want an end to traditional alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that deny violated women and girls access to justice.
Mandera Woman Representative Umulkheri Kassim said it’s an exercise in futility when women and girls are equipped with information on their rights at the backdrop of a Maslaha system where elders and religious leaders sit to determine the punishment of a sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) offender.
“Maslaha system interferes with the SGBV cases. A woman may know her rights but they cannot enjoy them because of the interference of the Maslaha system,” she said last Friday in Athi River during a Women Must Lead meeting jointly organised by Femnet, Kewopa and Mzalendo Trust.
“For instance, I’ve just been told two girls have been defiled. The mother of the second girl had declined to give information about the defilement. While the mother of the first girl would not proceed any further because the husband told her he would divorce her if she went to court,” she said.
Kajiado Woman Rep Leah Sankaire urged women to speak out against any form of ill treatment, especially during delivery.
“Many times, SGBV has been taken so casually. For instance, obstetric violence. You go through it and assume all women have gone through it, without realising that it’s actually your right to have a safe delivery, and be handled well during delivery,” she said.
Ms Sankaire who also attended the meeting said the campaign period offers women leaders an opportunity to converge and strategise on how to end violence in all spaces.
Dagoretti North Member of Parliament Beatrice Elachi, was concerned of the SGBV targeting women politicians citing the case of Meru governor Kawira Mwangaza.
She urged Ms Mwangaza to sue the perpetrators to serve as a lesson to all men who abuse women and assume they can get away with it.
On her part, Homa Bay County Women Joyce Bensuda said the war against SGBV can only be won if efforts are made to equally end the violence against men and boys.
“How can we talk about teenage pregnancy without talking about the boy child. The girl child cannot be pregnant without the boy child. Women must advocate for the rights of the boy child too,” she said.