A worrying trend where relatives rape their kin
to settle family feuds has emerged.
Increased cases of people raping their young
relatives after domestic quarrels are being
reported in Nyandarua, Kongoni, Molo and
Gilgil areas.
This has left stakeholders dealing with these
cases in shock and disbelief.
Incest has become the crudest means of
punishing relatives in the country after any
And as the children narrate their painful
ordeals in the hands of these abusers who
happen to be close family members, it is
evident that these children will be haunted by
these experiences for a long time.
Joyce Wairimu (not her real name) was
allegedly gang-raped by six close family
members three years ago.
This is an experience that the thirteen-year-old
Joyce would give anything in the world to
The family had fought over land and after six
months her cousins dropped by to seek
Joyce was allegedly repeatedly defiled by her
cousins who had dropped by their house en-
route to visit their grandmother in Tulaga,
At the time this happened, her mother was out
in the farm and the irate relatives took
advantage of that.
After fulfilling their mission, they left her
unconscious and bleeding heavily.
Her mother came back thirty minutes later
and and took her to hospital.
She was then treated and went back home and
her parents assumed she was healed.
However, the experience of that unfortunate
event still torments her and she often wakes
up screaming.
She cannot attend any family gathering since
she cannot be able to face her cousins, who
are by now married and have children of their
However, Joyce says that failure by her parents
to follow up the matter through legal channels
has denied her justice.
This is what angers her most to this very day.
“My mother has never believed I was raped by
her sisters children.
In fact, anytime we bring the story up she
dismisses it. She accuses me of sleeping with
other men and then blaming it on her
relatives,” she says.
Her case is similar to that of six year old Anna
Wanja (not her real name).
Two years ago she was allegedly raped by her
uncle who is also her neighbour.
Wanja was reportedly way laid by her uncle
who dragged her into a bush where he
undressed her and raped her repeatedly.
Too young to even realise what was happening
to her, she did not talk of the unfortunate
event until later on in the evening when she
went to pass urine and started crying.
On inquiry she told her mother that “ uncle
Sam” had inserted painful things into her
private parts.
The girls private parts were badly damaged
and her poor parents have been unable to
raise the Sh500,000 required for her
“Doctors have already told us that she will
remain barren for life.
“It’s hurting to know that her life was ruined
by her very uncle who no longer sees it as a
big deal,” said Janet Njeri, the mother.
She claims that the family of the relative
suspected to have done the heinous act
approached her on several occasions and
offered her Sh10 000 which she says was an
insult to her.
Njeri has now turned into an outcast after she
refused to agree to the “out of court”
She is no longer invited for weddings and
other family gatherings.
She was even chased away when she went to
attend her grandfather’s burial.
“The worst part is the fact that this man is
ever chasing the young girl with his
motorcycle and threatens to kill her if she
continues telling people that he abused her,”
said the mother.
Njeri believes that her daughter was raped as
a result of a family land dispute.
She inherited a bigger piece of land from her
father and hence the bitterness by her brother
towards her and her children.
A research done by the Naivasha law courts
prosecutor Mike Muya indicates that of the 98
sexual assault cases that were brought to the
law courts in 2012, eight of them involved
He says that the number could be higher since
some cases go unreported.
Another worrying trend is that many suspects
are never convicted due to lack of evidence as
the victims are hidden away by relatives for
fear of stigmatisation once the cases go public.
Muya also argues that the shortage of
magistrates to specifically deal with rape
cases involving minors had led to delayed
” A case takes many years to be concluded
because there are judges specific who deal
with cases of minors.
They are also the ones who handle other cases
in court and hence the workload is quite
heavy,” he added.
Nyandarua area police boss Sammy Munyao
admits that defilement has been a huge
problem in the area.
He however blames it on the family settings,
where people in the area refuse to marry from
outside the community.
“People marry from the same area and after
sometime, we find that they are all related.
Whenever families disagree they rape the
children as a means of punishing the relative
who offended them,” said Munyao.
Nyandarua South District Children’s officer
David Koigi says that majority of these rape
cases have seen families opt for out of court
Often, the aggrieved family is paid Sh10,000
or less as compensation, he says.
“In most cases we follow up on a defilement
case only to find that the family of the victim
chose for an out of court settlement.
They do this to avoid the embarrassment that
would follow as a result of the cases being
brought to the limelight when the right path of
justice is followed,” he said.
“Cases of parents hiding the victim by sending
her to a faraway place, mostly to live with
other relatives are increasing at a worrying
This creates a problem especially when the
victim has to testify in court and ends up
missing several court sessions.
Often such cases are dismissed as the key
witness is missing,” he added.
However, the main challenge has been in the
filling of the P3 forms, which is a requirement
in any sexual assault case.
In Nyandarua area, the forms are filled on
Tuesdays and Thursdays only, which,
according to Koigi, is tormenting to a child who
has been defiled.
In most cases, the victims are also forced to
pay Sh500 to have the form filled.
“The unavailability of doctors to interpret the
P3 Forms has become a major challenge
during court hearings.
After a magistrate looks for the doctor several
times without success, he or she may give up
and this can affect the case,” he added.
He attributes the increased cases of
defilement and incest to drug abuse,
especially the use of bhang, a drug which he
says is grown in large quantities at the
Aberdare Ranges.
Purity Wanjira, the chairperson of the
Naivasha Women for Peace, blames the
increased incest to poor housing.
“Many families are broken, with the mother
living in rural areas leaving the children with
their fathers. In such situations some men turn
to their children and defile them.
Many times people realise that the girls are
having affairs with their fathers when they
become pregnant,’ said Wanjira.

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