Kenya: Ensure justice for 16-year-old Liz & all victims of sexual violence
Young protester at a Justice for Liz rally in Kenya. Photo courtesy of COVAW.
While returning home from a funeral in Busia County, Kenya in late June 2013, 16-year-old Liz was brutally gang raped and thrown, unconscious and battered, down a pit latrine. Three of the suspects were caught, but, astonishingly, the police recorded the attack as a mere “assault” and released the assailants after having them cut the police station grass as “punishment.” Tragically, as a result of the attack Liz was confined to a wheelchair and developed obstetric fistula, rendering her incontinent. Liz is now recovering after surgery and is receiving counseling, but has been unable to return to school due to her continued hospitalization.
Seven months after a global campaign, spearheaded in October 2013 by the Kenyan women’s NGOs, Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) and African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), acquired more than 1.5 million signatures demanding #JusticeForLiz, little progress has been made. The authorities have re-apprehended only one of the three original suspects, mitigated his criminal charge from rape to “causing grievous bodily harm,” and have not held any subsequent hearings. Furthermore, Inspector General of Police, David Kimaiyo, who admitted to erroneously “arbitrating” the case, has been engaging in victim-blaming and attacks on Liz’s credibility. The Office of Director of Public Prosecutions, whom the case was transferred to, has yet to release their report which was due 10 December 2013.
Tragically Liz’s experience is commonplace in Kenya, where 1 in 5 women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Therefore, please join Equality Now, our partners through the Solidarity for African Women's Rights (SOAWR) coalition, COVAW and FEMNET in calling for justice for Liz and all survivors and victims of sexual violence.
Please Take Action today by:
Calling on the officials below to take immediate steps to fully investigate and prosecute the perpetrators in Liz’s case, to ensure that all cases of sexual violence are properly investigated and prosecuted, and to effectively implement the Sexual Offences Act.
Urging the government of Kenya to prioritize the training of law enforcement officials to ensure that sexual violence complaints are appropriately handled and that officials are equipped to deal with survivors of sexual violence by rectifying harmful behaviors that might further distress victims or impede their access to justice.