What you need to know:
- Lack of shelters and delayed justice have been cited as among the setbacks to the fight against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Meru.
- YWCA focusing on amplifying the voices of young women against SGBV as well as intimate partner violence that has been on the rise.
Lack of safe houses and delayed justice have been cited as among the setbacks to the fight against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Meru.
Speaking during a procession to mark the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the town on Thursday, Inua Mama Mjane Foundation director Cynthia Kananu, called on the government to fix the gaps so as to reduce the vice.
The procession to sensitise residents on the need to join hands in fighting GBV, was organised by Young Women's Christian Association, which is running a five-year gender advocacy programme dubbed Young Women for Awareness, Agency, Advocacy and Accountability (YW4A).
“Without rescue centres and safe houses, many victims are not keen on reporting because they have nowhere to go. The safe houses are critical to healing of survivors as they provide legal and counselling services.
“There is need for the Judiciary to ensure GBV cases are fast-tracked even if it means having a special section to handle them,” Ms Kananu said.
YWCA National General Secretary Deborah Olwal, noted that one in every three women in Meru, experience GBV.
She said the organisation is focusing on amplifying the voices of young women against SGBV as well as intimate partner violence that has been on the rise.
“Despite Meru County becoming the first to adopt an SGBV policy, there is need for a functional rescue centre for survivors. All Kenyans should know that gender-based violence is a crime and a violation of human rights,” Ms Olwal said.
Meru County Social Services Executive Linner Kailanya, said the county government was keen on promoting prevention of GBV.
“This is not only a women's affair. We want both genders to come on board and work towards its eradication. We must ensure those who violate others are brought to book. Do not keep quiet,” Ms Kailanya said.
Meru County Woman Representative Kawira Mwangaza has in the recent past said a SGBV rescue and resource centre, funded by the National Government Affirmative Action Fund, would be complete by the end of this year.