What you need to know:
- The 32-year-old woman narrates that the man begged for forgiveness, promising not to repeat the act.
In 2018, he repeated the act when Linda was in Standard six.
He defiled the minor in a nearby thicket and warned her not to tell anybody about the incident.
When Linda (not her real name) ’s mother met her lover and decided to live with him 10 years ago, the girl was barely five years old.
Her mother hoped that the man would love and treat Linda well.
But three years ago, it all turned into horror when Linda’s step-father, who was supposed to be her protector, turned into a monster, defiling her not once, not twice, but thrice.
That fateful day in 2017 started just like another normal day when the mother of five went to visit her neighbour and left her husband with all their children at home. When she came back a few hours later, she found him on the act with Linda.
“As I was coming back, I found the other children outside. I went back to the house, where I heard the girl screaming baba imetosha, baba imetosha (dad that’s enough, dad that’s enough). I entered my bedroom and found him defiling her,” recalls the woman during an interview at their home in Uasin Gishu County.
“I reported the matter at a local police station and filled a P3 form. We also went to hospital to collect evidence, but his family begged us to withdraw the matter,” she recounts. The family also promised to slaughter a sheep for cleansing ceremony, but it never took place.
The 32-year-old woman narrates that the man begged for forgiveness, promising not to repeat the act. He blamed “the devil for leading him to temptation”.
“Eventually, I forgave him and life moved on.”
In 2018, he repeated the act when Linda was in Standard six. He defiled the minor in a nearby thicket and warned her not to tell anybody about the incident.
“He warned me that if I ever told my mother or anybody else, I would face dire consequences. I decided to remain silent because I feared for my life,” says the girl, who is now in Standard Eight.
And after schools were closed early this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the man struck again.
In June; he followed her to the latrine and defiled her.
When schools re-opened in October, the 16-year-old girl reported back, but the head teacher noticed something was amiss, prompting him to request Linda’s parents to visit the school.
“The head teacher asked her if she was pregnant, but she denied it. However, after a lengthy conversation, she opened up and disclosed that her step-father had defiled her again,” says her mother.
“The following day, we went to hospital and did a pregnancy test, confirming that indeed she was expectant,” the mother says.
The woman, who is also pregnant with the man’s child, decided to file the matter with the police.
The man was arrested and arraigned in court last month.
The woman notes that since the man was taken to authorities, her in-laws have become hostile towards her.
“We are facing a lot of threats from his family and relatives.”
As the World marks the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the family hopes they will get justice for their daughter.
The minor and her mother are among hundreds of victims of sexual and gender based violence who visit the Centre for Human Rights and Mediation in Eldoret town every Thursday to undergo counselling. They are also assisted to access legal and psychological support to overcome the trauma.
Nick Omito, the CEO of Centre for Human Rights and Mediation, raised alarm over an increasing number of such cases in the region and called on the government and religious leaders to stamp out the vice.
He lamented that most counties lack safe houses for victims of GBV, exposing them to their abusers after they are released on bond.
“Sometimes courts give suspects bonds. Our fear is that if one affords the bond, he will go back to the same family. What will happen since the girl and her mother are witnesses?” He poses.