State Violence in Kenya



Internal armed conflict and the situation of women

Like most violence that occurs in the course of armed conflict, violence against women is not accidental. It is a weapon of war, a tool used to achieve military objectives such as ethnic cleansing, spreading political error, breaking the resistance of a community etc.

In conflict-ridden areas murder, sexual violence, rape, unwanted pregnancies, vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases, forced prostitution, reproductive tract infections, infection with HIV/AIDS and psycho-social trauma are all elements of gender based violence suffered by women at the hands of aggressors.

Many victims of gender-based violence during armed conflict are reluctant to talk about their suffering. Pressures from parties of the conflict, the government, the family or community often prevent women from reporting their experiences. In a conflict situation violence against women is never addressed. Women violators never get to pay for the crime they commit. In most cases violence against women in a conflict situation is never addressed.

Recent incidences reported in Northern Kenya, the north Rift and Central rift point to escalating incidents of internal conflict due to environmental and land concerns. During flight women have been violated through rape and sexual abuse. Cases of women being abducted and kidnapped have been reported in Northern Kenya86. On 25th January one of the Daily papers reported that women in the Pokot regions were requesting state action for rape cases committed against them by invaders. Women bear the blunt of responsibility of managing their families while in displaced camps. They face numerous challenges in coping without basic necessities, while protecting their children and themselves from domestic violence and violence from external forces.

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