This is the story of Charlotte Campbell Stephens, 34, a Volunteer from Australia working in Kenya for African LEAF (Love, Education, Acknowledge and Feed) an organisation that caring for orphans and vulnerable children, AS TOLD to Susan Mwangi.
While violence against women has existed as problem throughout history, the senselessness and ferocious increase in recent years is disturbing.
Within the sanctuary walls of our Churches, we have accommodated both the victims and perpetuators of violence, worshipping together. Yet the Church has been ill-prepared and I daresay, unwilling to minister to and accommodate the survivors of gender-based violence on the one hand, and to reach out to perpetrators of violence with meaningful interventions that bring restoration and healing.
I got married in 1995 and the following year I had my first child. The day I had gone to deliver he never came to the hospital. When I was discharged I met him in the house and he told me he lost his job. I believed him and accepted him back. He started beating me up for no apparent reason. He started drinking and coming home late, sometimes he would disappear. I talked to him about his behavior but he became more violent and left.
Sexual violence continues to represent the most rapidly growing violent crimes in Kenya, claiming a victim every two minutes. Naivasha town and its environs is a rape hotspot – with children and women being the most frequent victims.
After many years of women’s rights campaigns by civil society organizations to end gender based violations, it turns out that these efforts will not have full impact unless all institutions are included in these initiatives.