As the world marks 16 days of activism against Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), stakeholders in Kenya have raised concerns over grey areas in the Sexual Offences Act.
They also shed light on the legal processes that have hampered the fight against the vice.
Civil Society Organization (CSO) Team Leader Betty Okero says the laws currently focus more on punishing the sexual offenders than the recovery of the victims.
The Act only focuses on the conviction of the offender and not the social impact of the victims, and how they can best recover from the traumBetty Okero
To achieve the war on the vice, Okero roots for the amendment of the act to make it more responsive to the social needs of the victims in the country.
“The Act only focuses on the conviction of the offender and not the social impact of the victims, and how they can best recover from the trauma,” she said.
This, Okero said deny the victims the required justice and full recovery which all the stakeholders should now give more efforts towards addressing the SGBV menace in the country.
The activist who spoke during the launch of the 16 days of activism against SGBV event in Nyakach, Kisumu called for a collective approach by stakeholders to win the fight against the vice.
We have seen cases where relatives and family cut deals with the perpetrators thereby denying victims justice. Most cases end up being withdrawnElly Opondo
Among other challenges hampering effective tackling of the SGBV cases noted were out of court settlements, tedious process in reporting at police stations, bribery by perpetrators, collusion between the victim’s family and suspects, and difficulty in acquiring of the mandatory P3 form.
Champions of Peace Executive Director Elly Opondo noted that reporting the SGBV cases at the police stations are very tedious for the victims, especially in the rural areas.
“We have seen cases where relatives and family cut deals with the perpetrators thereby denying victims justice. Most cases end up being withdrawn,” he said.
Opondo also cited complex legal system as there was no comprehensive charge sheet with getting P3 form being costly at about Sh1,500 in the villages.
Shamina Atieno, an advocate from Muhoroni, said there was need for more community voices to sensitize locals against the SGBV if the country has to realize the war.
“There is nothing for us without us. Locals should be fully engaged in addressing the SGBV,” said Atieno.