Sexual and Gender Based Violence

“If an old man marries a very young virgin girl and cannot penetrate her, then he calls the young men in his neighbourhood to sleep with you as the others hold your legs apart in the name of making a way for him. The husband is then asked to get inside before the path closes again. The other women in the neighbourhood are asked not to intervene, even if the girl screams, as it is just men making way for one of their own. In most cases the other women have also gone through the same so they do not take the issue seriously. ”

 

FGD participant – female

“During FGM ceremonies, the girls are expected to be very brave. The girl’s father stands strategically in front of his daughter with a bow and arrow. If the girl shakes or closes her eyes as an indication of pain, then the father releases the arrow, killing his own daughter. They say there is no place for a cowardly daughter in Pokot. She is a shame to the community.
The process itself is so severe. It involves an excision of the clitoris together with total excision of the labia minora and then tie the girls legs together so that even urinating is a problem. If you happen to get your menstrual flow, they cut you up to remove the blood clot. To urinate, one needs to climb a tree so that the urine can flow backwards.”
FGD participant- Female

“If a very young woman is married by an old man and he cannot easily penetrate, a problem that is highly contributed by FGM, he calls her co-wives or mother-in-law to assist him open up his way in. The women get a cow’s horn, apply some oil, and then push it in until the girls opening expands. It is a very painful process but that is what culture dictates. If the horn works, then the man is called immediately to penetrate before it closes again. If that process does not work, then they cut her open and ask the man to penetrate before the blood clots blocking the entrance, and the pain of the cut is too much to bare .”
Female FGD participant.

Defilement is a serious problem in this area. In July this year in Nyamache district, a man tried to defile his 12-year old niece. The wife of the man had gone for delivery at Nyacheki health centre. The girl and her younger sister had gone to spend the night at her grandmother’s which was not far from the man’s house. That night, the man kicked down the window of the hut where the girls were sleeping. He managed to get in grabbed the neck of the girls and asked her not to make a sound. But the younger sister screamed and made so much noise that the man left. With the evidence of the scratches that were on the girl’s neck and the account of the two sisters, the mother decided to take legal action. She was concerned because it was not the first defilement attempt. Her brothers-in-law threatened to send her away. I advised her to go to a police station to register the case which she did. There are still threats against her and I have advised her to go to the children’s office for further assistance.”
Key informant- Nyamira

“We have in Butula a grandmother who is 24 years old. This is the result of early pregnancies. Sadly, the circle continues. A mother gives birth at a young age, the same applies to the child and the circle continues, leading to very young families. The worst part is that the community thinks that this is very normal and no one finds it a big deal.”
Key informant – female

“In many cases, before a woman is employed, she has to fulfil the boss’ sexual desire. Even after accepting to sleep with the employer, if another girl comes seeking employment and she falls in the same trap, you lose the job for her and the circle continues. It does not matter whether you are qualified or not.”
FGD participant – female

CaseStudy_Author:

CaseStudyTheme:

CaseStudy_Summary: 

“If an old man marries a very young virgin girl and cannot penetrate her, then he calls the young men in his neighbourhood to sleep with you as the others hold your legs apart in the name of making a way for him. The husband is then asked to get inside before the path closes again. The other women in the neighbourhood are asked not to intervene, even if the girl screams, as it is just men making way for one of their own. In most cases the other women have also gone through the same so they do not take the issue seriously. ”

CaseStudy_Image: