Gender based violence (GBV) is one of the most prevalent human rights violations. It knows no social, economic, class or cultural confinement. It occurs in families, schools, workplaces, social structures and communities across the world. Women and girls, and to a lesser degree men and boys, either directly experience or face the impact of some form of gender based violence.
Gender based violence involves a wide variety of agents from intimate partners and family members, to strangers and institutional actors such as teachers, pastors, office managers and police.
GBV is generally rooted in socio-economic, cultural and political exclusion of both women and men. While victimization can be addressed through legal instruments, there is need for greater empowerment of both women and men so as to minimize long-term vulnerability to violence.
Just recently, a woman in Machakos County was reported to have lost both of her limbs which were cut off by her husband for failing to conceive for the seven years that they have been married. This happened yet reports stated that the same man was the who was infertile thus the reason for the couple not being able to get children.
Congolese Lingala Musician Koffi Olomide, with his big name in the entertainment industry is known to have assaulted women in a number of occasions, the recent one being in Kenya. This is after a video went viral on social media showing how the Congolese musician assaulted a woman at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on arrival in the country. The Congolese Rumba maestro Koffi Olomide had just landed in Nairobi for his much-anticipated concert.
There have been many reports surrounding GBV cases. Men too have reported to have been violated by the female gender like the Nyeri men, many of them who ended up being chopped of their manhood by their wives.
Research by National Crime Research Center (NCRC) has indicated that in Kenya, 45 percent of women aged between 15 and 49 years have experienced either physical or sexual violence, one in five Kenyan women 21 percent has experienced sexual violence where most violence is perpetrated in familial relationships where the perpetrator is known to the victim. Strangers account for only 6 percent of GBV in Kenya and surprisingly, most violence towards women is committed by an intimate partner. This is the same case as that of the Machakos couple, Koffi Olomide to the dancer and Nyeri women to their husbands.
Gender-based violence tends to affect many people in the society. However, ascertaining its prevalence has been a matter of estimation. A multi-country WHO study established that between 15 percent and 71 percent of women report physical or sexual violence by a husband or partner.
The report goes on to disclose that between 4 percent and 12 percent of women reported to have been physically abused during pregnancy, and up to one in five women and one in 10 men report experiencing sexual abuse as children.
GBV is a significant problem for the Kenyan society. It is a crime and a moral indignation as provided and envisioned in the Kenyan legal system. It needs to be addressed urgently and more tougher laws need to be implemented so that the perpetrators can be punished severely.