Abused woman seeks protection for children

With sadness, 25 year old Pauline Njeri, recalls how she was defiled repeatedly by her step father.

For her, it was life full of misery when she was in primary school, It all started when she set foot in standard four at a school in Kakamega town.

This is when she was gradually turned into a sex toy, so she says.

For some years, this continued without her sharing the matter with anybody in the family, relative, village or school.

One day, however, she opened out to a classmate at the school. All she asked was whether or not the friend could have an intercourse with her father.

Apparently out of naivety, says Njeri, the friend told her that there was nothing wrong, Being naA�ve too, she always gave in to the amorous advances by the man who took care of her entire family.

But Njeri kept on asking herself why she was told not to talk about the act soon after it happened.

Njeri discloses that this act continued till it drove her to trying to commit suicide five separate times. Besides attempting to drown twice, the young light skin complexion woman recalls walking out of the house and contemplating taking poison on diverse dates of the year.

She thought that ceasing to live was the best option because she had nobody to relate this matter to.

As time went by she gathered courage and had to display it. One day when the step father beckoned her to a room she hesitated two times before she went there. She says, The man then pulled out a knife to cut the dress she wore. Njeri says that she snatched the knife from him, stabbed his hand instead and left him bleeding.

Form two then (2010), she disclosed what had happened to the mother when she returned to the house. Irked and dismayed by this, the mother walked out of the marriage. She left with Njeri to rent a house elsewhere in town.

The youthful woman says the act made her become violent towards boys and reveals an incident whereby she fought a group of three boys who she felt were harassing her while on her way home from School.

On the reason she concealed the issue of being molested for too long, she says that she regarded it as normal due to being inexperienced and was intimidated by her step father. He threatened to kill the mother in case she raised it with her, she says.

Since the mother and daughter left to stay in a different rental house in town, Njeri has been threatened by the man who was her step father.

According to her, the man who is a mechanic in town tried knocking her with a vehicle he was driving around.

She believes he was out to run the car into her because he looked back after she jumped out of the road but continued driving.

Following the abuse she suffered and having undergone rigorous counselling, Njeri has now formed a group to protect children in the town before moving to the rest of Kakamega County.

Dubbed Let us fight child abuse and stop sexual harassment, the group is to sensitize girls on issues of being molested.

She advises that mothers should be sensitive to every act a father engages in with a child, these include posting of photographs of children in a certain position, to social media, she says, adding that what the child says should be taken in seriously by parents.

It may be a pointer to what is happening to the child, Njeri says, narrating how her female friend was recently asked to have a step daughter who used to talk about pictures of her being taken when bathing by the step father. These were later posted to a blog, she adds.

Though without a formal office to operate from Njeri calls for support from women leaders in the area and pleads with the parents not to resolve child abuse cases in their respective homes, traditionally (gentleman’s agreement) or out of court settlement while urging the judiciary to take harsh sentence against those found guilty of molesting children.

Njeri further stresses that counselling is crucial for all children who have been defiled or underwent various type of abuses.

Source: Kenya News Agency