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Dont forget fellow Kenyans living in IDP camp

Would you use this loo? No? What if you had no choice? Welcome to a Kenyan IDP camp.

Growing up in an IDP camp

As a Kenyan I’m disgusted with how we have  handled the post election crisis and in particular the victims who still live in IDP camps around the country. Two years on, these peole are still living in hell. As a result, we are now raising a generation of children – victims of the post election violence in campas that are beginning to look like slums.  The Kenyan Government does not recognize most  IDP camps near Nakuru  – and have sent the donors away.

Call this a home?

Each member of the camp has a small footprint on which they have a tent donated by UNHCR and intended to be used for 6 months. Back then, remember the post election violence? It was assumed that people would not need to be in IDP camps for more than that. Well, it’s more than 2 years on and they are still in the camps – more than 6,000 people live in this camp. The tents are in tatters.

Although the Chinese government donated metal sheets for roofing, the members of the IDP camp say that the DC in Nakuru has held onto them and will not release them because he wants these IDP’s out of there.

Overflowing toilets have been locked

Although this is a horrible place to live, this camp is surpprisingly well organized, structured and managed by an elected committee. Toilets were put in 2 years ago by WHO but are now full. Most of them are locked. Where to people go? Use your imagination.

Despite the horrendous smell, kids play near the toilets

Drying maize

We spent a couple of hours in the IDP camp meeting and talking to people living there. These are not lazy, uneducated, helpless people. These are people who ran businesses, had homes, farms and jobs. They lost everything.

We asked what their priorities are. The answer was simple, medicine, toilets and food.

Trauma lingers in the faces of people who endure unimaginable suffering

Many of the women were raped, their husbands and family members killed, their children raped, their homes burned, and property looted. They lost their land, and their livestock. They cannot imagine going back to live with the beasts who did this to them. There is no counselling, no support, and no official government efforts to deal with the consequences like HIV.

Clinic officer

Yet these people do live in hope. They have no choice really. Linet is a university student. She also runs the little clinic on the IDP camp serving over hundreds of patients.  Some of them die from manageable diseases. But despite the setbacks, she still has reason to smile. She told me that this IDP camp is now home.

Not lazy, this guy has built a shed for producing mushrooms. A micro enterpriset hhat could be successful if he gets funds to start off the first mushrooms.

Studying in an IDP camp

The place is very congested, but people make do. There are no jobs for these people but that does not stop this student from continuing with his studies.

In the IDP camp we came across a few foreign volunteers who were helping with schools and sports. As Kenyans we need to support these IDP’s too.

You can help

Peter and I asked guests at our wedding to donate funds or materials to this IDP camp. We have raised enough to purchase medicines for the clinic and to build one line of new toilets. We also gave a little something to the kids.We thank all our generous friends who supported this appeal.

If you would like to help  here are some things that these guys need

1. More medical supplies

2. More toilets (a line of 6 toilets costs about Kh 20,000)

3. Help with medical fees – several members of the IDP camps are in hospital and cannot be released until fees are paid up

4. Support for microfinance and studies.

5. Jobs

Leave a comment if you’d like to join us in helping

May 28, 2010 Posted by | Kenya, politics, rape, Women | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to report crime in Kenya or navigating Police procedures

FIRST I HAVE TO GRIPE- WHY ISN’T THERE AN ONLINE SUPPORT SERVICE FOR VICTIMS  OF DOMESTIC ABUSE?

I don’t know how Kenya can say it is serious about dealing with the vice when its the no. 1 crime affecting over 80% of women, yet it’s virtually impossible to find out where to get help, or how to report an incident of domestic abuse.

Here’s what I know about what to do- let me know what you think as I’d love to  produce a poster and plaster a checklist on every single police station in Kenya

1. CALL THE POLICE 999 (landline) 112 (Cell)

You can try to call the police Kenya Police emergency no is 999 (landline) or 112 (mobile phone).

PUT THESE NUMBERS IN YOUR CELL NOW

You can also try your local station – Kenya Police Stations Hotlines are listed here

2. REPORT AT NEAREST POLICE STATION OR SUB STATION/COMMUNITY STATION

When you get there tell them you want to report a crime.

I’ve no idea if the Gender Desk or Childrens Desks actually work but generally you go to the one guy who has the OB or Observation Book. He gives your case a number, asks you a few questions and you should keep a receipt of that report.

The officer taking your report will not volunteer information – you have to ask. These guys are qualified but if you are confused ask to see the OCS (Officer in Charge of Station – who generally is quite professional)

Well if you’ve been injured you need a P3 form from the Police station – you can download P3 Forms and Abstract Forms from the Police website here in advance

LOSS OF PROPERTY

Note The Abstract form is issued by the Police whenever a person reports loss of property.

It is filled giving details of the lost property. The Officer Commanding Police Station(OCS), must sign and rubber-stamp the filled form and an official receipt issued.

NB. Once this form is filled,it must be taken to the nearest Police Station for necessary assistance.

IN THE CASE OF PERSONAL INJURY

You must get the P3 Form the Medical Examination Report

The Kenya Police Medical Examination form, popularly known as P3, is provided free of charge at our police stations. It is used to request for medical examination by a Medical Officer of Health, in order to determine the nature and extent of bodily injury sustained by a complainant(s) in assault cases.

Part I of the form must be filled by the Police Officer requesting medical examination.

Part II must befilled by a Medical Officer or Practitioner carrying out the examination giving medical details.

Section B of this form should be completed in all cases of assault, including sexual while section C is completed in cases alleged sexual offeces ony.

This form is a government document and must be returned to the police for use in adducing evidence in court.

Once the P3 form is filled in at the police station, the complainant is escorted by a police officer to a medical officer or practitioner for examination.

The form becomes an exhibit once produced in court.

MAKE A STATEMENT

Accompanying your initial Abstract should be a full statement from you of what happened. This can be done later the same day or next day AT THE POLICE STATION

Any abuse, injury or damage to property is a criminal case. It is different from a civil case (but you can also pursue a civil case in parallel – I’m not  a lawyer but would appreciate guidance on this).

If you need someone to be arrested you must tell the police immediately. Kenyan law classifies any assault, injury or damage to property as violation of the penal code.

The police will arrest the offender and charge them, hold them til processed (finger prints etc), set a bail if it’s a bailable offense, is and give them a date in court usually within 2 weeks. From what I’ve been told, the Government prosecutor will take charge in criminal cases. Ie. the Victim is represented by Govt Prosecutor. The person charged gets to plead, after which there’s a mention then a hearing.

Having someone charged for domestic abuse is a process and no wonder most women drop or don’t bother to even report domestic abuse cases.

(BTW I think we have a domestic abuse law in Kenya – it’s either assault or some other crime.)

And intoxication shall not constitute a defence to any criminal charge. Women or men who charge their spouses with domestic violence are actually charging them with Assault and there’s a 5 year jail sentence for that.

Most men know that women will not go so far as reporting the case – but the truth is that once it’s reported you can drop it if you decide. If you don’t you have nothing but the possibility of further assault.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just walk away?

NO!!!

Forgetting about what it does to us, me, you or any victim, to our bodies,  just think for a moment about what it does to our minds, our spirit and how it messes up our children, sisters, parents, friends for life to see us take the beatings.

Why you should report spouse abuse

  • Having the incident on record in case it happens again in future
  • You can use the case to leverage a mediated approach in exchange for dropping criminal charges which carry hefty penalties.
  • Reduced probability of further abuses – Men don’t like having a record
  • Doing what’s right for you and your kids/dependents family friends etc.

Disadvantages of reporting a spouse abuse case

  • Dealing with the Police can be time consuming – these guys are experts in the runaround (most women drop cases which might explain why the police don’t take them seriously in the first place)
  • Responsibility if the abuser goes to jail (most women are too kind to mean men)
  • Ending a relationship most people end relationships once it’s gotten so bad that police are involved. Some think it’s better to deal with problems before they become violent. You can get help and counseling (see below)
  • Your case can become publicsome people and especially relatives find this embarrassing and shameful

The Center for Gender Violence at Nairobi Womens Hospital in Hurlingham

Kenyatta Hospital

Nairobi Place – for counseling and treatment of alcoholism and other substance abuse addictions

For men who are abused or who can’t get access to traditional help the SAFE website may provide options

For women, children and men – we need a site like Narika in Asia which is a volunteer run a help line that one can can call to find out what to do, get counseling, access information like where’s the closest shelter, share stories and generally get help.

You can download most Kenyan laws here

If you have any relevant resources to share leave a comment or tweet me @paulakahumbu


November 26, 2009 Posted by | Crime, gender violence, Injustice, Kenya, rape, Relationships, spouse abuse, Women | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Take the poll on gender violence?

I don’t normally write about Gender violence but since it’s White Ribbon Day tomorrow I wanted to take some form of action on Violence Against Women. With over 70% of Kenyan women affected seems we may not know how these statistics are compiled…Do you what gender violence is?

Here’s a really easy way to take action today, just take the poll

Thanks

Oh, and tell your friends to do so too

November 24, 2009 Posted by | gender violence, rape, Relationships, spouse abuse | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Breaking the cycle of Violence against Women

After writing about Charlie and Anne and responding to a number of comments on Twitter, Facebook and  here I discovered that this story is not that uncommon.

This video states that 90% of Kenyan women are abused from childhood – and 60 % are in abusive marriages/relationships.

Seeing the burned victim of domestic abuse will stay tattooed in my brain forever.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) launched the global advocacy initiative Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women, which will stimulate, count and showcase actions on ending violence against women. The innovative platform will spotlight global efforts and demonstrate the groundswell of support and actions on the issue.

I’ve taken on action to end violence againsg women – by simply being there for my friend Anne to deal with her abusive partner and of course writing this blog.  I’ve recorded my action on UNiFem’s website here .

Speak out on violence against women – call into your favourite radio show, write a blog, send your friends, emails

Share resources

Spend an hour with your son, nephew, brother, father, grandfather, friend and talk about domestic violence

Support a victim of domestic violence (your grandmother, mother, sister, lover, friend, aunt, niece)

Talk to the abuser – help him realise it’s just not acceptable

If you have ever been an abuser – call your victim and apologise from the depths of your heart and promise to never ever ever do it again. Get help if you haven’t already.

Share the commitment you have made on UNiFEM website – it’ll only take a few moments.

I can’t find a single web based resource that women in Kenya can turn to to tell them what their rights are, and what actions to take in the event of abuse. Any help would be much appreciated. Once we have it we need to share it through mobile phone. Maybe we can save some of these women.

The Coalition on Violence Against Women apparently provide free legal service for victims

Love your woman tomorrow it’s White Ribbon day!

– All you men out there, show your commitment to end violence against women – wear a white ribbon today and spoil your woman rotten, with a massage, breakfast in bed, a bubble bath and cook her a loving meal.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Crime, gender violence, Injustice, Kenya, rape, Relationships, spouse abuse, Women | Leave a comment