Stigma to blame for unreported sexual assault cases

In Summary

  • Only about seven to eight cases of rape against children are reported at Heathcare Assistance Kenya (hAk) in a week.

Most sexual assault cases involving children and very close relatives like fathers, cousins, grandparents and uncles, in Kenya, go unreported.

This is due to the shame and guilt that comes with sexual assault, shame and guilt that is magnified if the act was perpetrated by a close relative, such as a father, who, ideally, should be protecting the child in the first place. According to Fanis Lisiagali, the executive director at Healthcare Assistance Kenya, there’s a section of society that is highly concerned about how society views them, and would rather suffer in silence than disclose the injustice going on in their lives.

“The victim of assault also fears that perhaps she could have done something to prevent the ugly incident.”

Only about seven to eight cases of rape against children are reported at Heathcare Assistance Kenya (hAk) in a week. The age ranges from five months to 18 years. Healthcare Assistance Kenya is the national helpline (1195) for sexual abuse and gender based violence.

Victims and people with knowledge of sexual abuse and gender-based violence can dial the toll free line which is available 24 hours a day.

They can then access tele-counseling services and referral to key service providers at their vicinity.