Leaders Advocate For Expanded GBV Rescue Facilities In Kakamega

More rescue centers for victims of gender-based violence, or GBV, are being urged to be established in Kakamega County. This is in response to an increase in GBV cases being recorded throughout the vast country, particularly during the holiday season. The Kenya Health Information System lists Kakamega as one of the counties with a rise in GBV incidence. Alarming rates of the same have been recorded in Shinyalu, Ikolomani, Khwisero, Matungu, and Lugari Sub-Counties for some time now.

To accommodate the rising number of victims fleeing abuse, anti-GBV activists in the county are urging the Shinyalu rescue center to be opened immediately. Due to the facility’s delayed operationalization, victims are forced to return to the abusive situations, placing them at risk of more abuse. Brenda Barasa, the county’s main officer for social services, notes that the county only has two GBV facilities, which is scarcely enough given that one has not yet been put into operation.

There have been cases where GBV victims—mostly women and children—reported the abuse but were forced to return to the same settings where they suffered further harm, while other victims died at the hands of their abusers.

“The shelters will provide the victims with a safe location to stay away from their offenders. These facilities also allow victims to obtain therapy and treatment for the abuse they have experienced. “Additionally,” says Barasa, “it facilitates their emotional recovery from the trauma inflicted upon them.

Elsie Muhanda, a Kakamega women’s representative and anti-GBV activist, points out that victims of gender violence cannot make any significant progress toward healing if they are trapped in the same setting.

She is the brains behind the GBV center’s establishment at Shinyalu. Muhanda noted, however, that due to a lack of rescue facilities or shelters for them to go to whenever they are abused, many GBV victims in the county are left with little options.


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