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Loop Hole Of Injustice On Sexual Assault

Charity Njoki


Sexual violence is an umbrella term that includes a wide range of sexual acts. The term can include rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, unwanted touching, sexual coercion, sex trafficking, female genital cutting, child sexual abuse, child marriage, enforced sterilisation, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution and forced pregnancy.

Sexual violence occurs in every country, during times of peace as well as during and after armed conflict. Sexual violence can also be perpetrated online or via digital technologies. Technology-facilitated sexual violence includes online stalking, gender-based hate speech, image-based sexual abuse, online rape threats and online sexual harassment.

In contrast to the specific criminal act of rape, the term sexual assault can describe a range of criminal acts that are sexual in nature, from unwanted touching and kissing, to rubbing, groping or forcing the victim to touch the perpetrator in sexual ways. But sexual assault overlaps with rape because the term includes rape.

“Sexual assault” refers to a sexual offence involving sexual penetration (sexual intercourse) without consent, Sexual assault is the most highly under reported crime in Kenya. It is estimated that only 1 out of 20 women in Kenya will report a rape and only 1 in 6 will seek medical assistance. Relying on reported cases will therefore not provide a genuine picture of what is truly happening on the ground?

In Kenya there are many cases that we get to hear about or even see them on television, a perfect case study was on 16th when a man was brought to limelight for being in jail serving life sentence for defiling the daughter. Though his innocence is apparently clear to everyone the court system that is meant to protect not just the victim but also the accused failed, thus landing him the hefty punishment.

In contrast we always hear cases of prominent politicians and personalities accused of sexual abuse and defilement yet none of the cases gets to court and if they do, the case is dragged out over a very long period of time only bringing more misery to the victims who in most cases abandon the search for justice for their own peace of mind or due to threats of violence towards them or their loved ones.

There is an extraordinary energy in the movements that are trying to fight the sexual assault cases, energy rooted in the knowledge that something is deeply wrong with legal and political systems in which it is the accuser and not the accused on trial; in which victims can be blamed for not physically fighting off men; in which powerful men can rape with impunity; in which sexual violence against individual is justified as a sectarian tactic. This energy, while fuelled by anger, is also tinged with hope.

Serving of justice to both victim and accused the law or penalty need to be changed because some of the cases the victim is left with life time problems while the accused will only spend less of his lifetime in prison and get released.

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