Gender-Based Violence (GBV): An emergency in the era of COVID19
Long before Coronavirus became front page news, the lack of a coordinated strategy to tackle and prevent gender violence in Kenya was painfully obvious. With restrictions on the movement of people due to the virus continuing, the crisis of gender-based violence has now morphed into a pandemic of its own.
The sudden jump in reported cases since the introduction of lockdown measures is leading to increased stress and fear amongst mostly vulnerable women and girls across the country. In addition to instances of emotional abuse, there has also been a sharp increase in both physical and sexual violence. In fact, the National Council on Administration of Justice has said that there has been “a significant spike in sexual offenses in many parts of the country”. According to the latest figures 45% of women and girls aged between 15 to 49 have now experienced extreme physical violence. With the state focusing its energy and resources on fighting the virus, Dignified Children International (DCI) has stepped up to provide a safe haven and dispute resolution services for those most at-risk of abuse.
Over the last few months we have been offering support and refuge to mothers and their children escaping both emotional and physical abuse often committed by their spouses. Working with local community leaders, the team can quickly identify and rescue those children at immediate risk. As the number of those suffering continues to grow nationwide, we have launched our new Gender-Based Violence Program to fight this growing crime.
Together with our partners in the Mwanzo Mpya Hub, DCI is providing a safe place online for our teenagers to express themselves and access mentorship and counselling services to get through this difficult time. For us, this new initiative extends well beyond the Coronavirus period. Through focusing on interactive learning and discussion, we hope to break the cycle of abuse and end the unnecessary hardship that countless children continue to suffer today.
To get involved or to make a small donation, please visit our 'get involved' page.